"Mist" was written many years ago, around the mid 1990's, for my niece, Angela Altiery. The second track is the title track and the genesis of my record label. It is filled with favorite songs of mine and was recorded spontaneously in one or two sittings. To this day, I receive nice feedback about it, and am grateful that people listen to it. I don't play these songs any more, so I am happy they are recorded for posterity's sake. Such is the wonder of digital music - it never fades or degenerates over time, as an analog recording would.
Recently, I had a long, late-into-the-evening conversation with my daughter, Megan, who is a first year music teacher. She is an accomplished musician and composer and will be featured on VH1's Save the Music program shortly. Among other things, we were discussing the psycho-motor aspects of making music. One of the things we discussed was the literal ability that music has to "touch" the listener. In order to hear the song being played, the small bones of the inner ear have to vibrate, so quite literally, the listener is being "touched" by the composer. We all know the feeling of being emotionally moved by a piece of music. That's because you were being moved, in a very literal sense, starting with the small bones of your inner ear. Music is unique among the arts in this respect. That is, there is a sensual vibration that happens to the listener while listening. And it begins deep inside your inner ear.
Track 1 - Daybreak - A nice start to this CD, played in a major dropped-tuned key. Written sometime in the mid 1990's, with sound effects recently added. Bird songs were recorded at the Midewin National Tall Grass Prairie, which is a protected sanctuary for wild birds and other wildlife in Northeastern Illinois. Babbling brook sounds were digitally recorded at either Pilcher Park or Hickory Creek. Synthesized warm bells and bell tower sounds were added with a digital audio workstation.
Track 2 - Mist - Title track and my favorite track on this CD...A haunting, beautiful melody played in E-flat minor. Cicadas near the end of the song were recorded at Kickapoo State Park, in Vermilion County. Sounds from Kickapoo will be appearing on other upcoming CDs. Soundscapes and a synthesized wind chime were added with a DAW.
Track 3 - Sparrows in the Choir - This was my first effort at experimenting with mixing and delays back in the mid 1990's. As far as I know, there were no sparrows used in this recording other than the ethereal sounds of dueling jazz harps. Tubular bells were added with a DAW.
Track 4 - Ordinary Time - Inspired by the fact that I prefer "ordinary time" to festivals, holidays or other types of special events, this tune is a favorite of some listeners. I think it is because it is played in a major key and people are more accustomed to hearing music played in major keys. I prefer minor keys and tend to play in minor keys more often. I think my internal vibrations are tuned in a minor key. The church bells and birds were recorded outside my back door when they rang out on a Saturday morning from a nearby local church. Water sounds came from Hickory Creek and the fading duck sounds near the end of the song were recorded at McKinley Woods near my home.
Track 5 - Late Summer - Named for obvious reasons and like the other tracks, was recorded in the mid 1990's. It seems to be in a major key, although, I generally don't play my music more than once or twice before it's recorded. Unusual, I know, but it seems to work for me. The babbling brook sounds were recorded at a place called Buttermilk Falls in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. It is a stunningly beautiful place and considered one of the top 100 places to live in the United States. To give you an idea, the Dalai Lama has his North American monastery headquarters in Ithaca, NY. It resembles Nepal to my mind. One of my daughters and I went on a college visit to Ithaca College and I managed to do some recording near the end of our trip. There are some places we should see before we die, and upstate New York should be on that list. Bird calls were recorded at Midewin and the synthesized warm bells were added with a DAW.
Cover photo was taken at Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire, Michigan by my daughter Megan. And thank you for all your encouragement and support.