Monthly Archives: November 2009

Recording Journal Volume 22: “Momentum”

Momentum is a strange thing. When you have it, you better step on the accelerator baby, because sooner or later, you’re gonna lose it.

I’ve lost it.

It seems to go like this with me. I go like hell for weeks at a time, get a ton of stuff accomplished, and have all sorts of grand ideas. Then I burn out. Once that’s happened, I get frustrated and irritable. In golfing terms, I start to “grind it out” so that I feel that I’m at least still trying to move forward. And I do this until I get “locked back in.”

And when that happens, I go like hell again. Until I burn out.

And so it goes.

Yes, I see the stupidity and the obvious pattern. And I am aware of it even when I am doing it. But so far I have not found an effective way to deal with it. Though I promise you, I am trying.

As far as my music project is concerned, it’s gone completely off the rails over the last week-to-ten days. Not only have I not been able to get much done; the truth is, I haven’t even really felt like doing it. Last Monday night, I arrived at Kevin Gorman’s studio feeling tired and uninspired (and to my credit, at least I showed up). Upon arrival I immediately dropped my gear and fell onto the couch in the front lobby. Kev and I never got any further. I was just too tired and, I think, so was he. We sat and chatted, and not about music. We did that for an hour and then I left.

Later in the week, I returned for a recording session. I could sense right from the get-go that I just wasn’t in the groove. We tried to record the guitar parts for the song “Bagley Avenue” and it wasn’t working. I quickly grew frustrated and tired of the whole thing.

Weird, huh?

Let me tell you; I am very passionate about this group of songs we’ve got. I have put my heart and soul into this project and I believe in it completely. So does KG. We’ve been chipping away at it for months (started in June) and I have been very excited about some of the recent progress we’ve made. The songs are good. The concept is strong. And in recent weeks, our confidence has been up and our performances solid.

So why then does it suddenly seem like someone has flipped the “off” switch? It is bewildering and frustrating.

So, thinking that I just needed a good night’s rest, I arrived back at KG’s on Saturday afternoon in what surely would be a productive session.

Nope.

I did manage to get the guitar part done for “Sunny Day in November,” which we decided to do first in an effort to help me find a groove and feel more relaxed so we could go back to “Bagley Avenue.” We did, and it only brought more frustration. I actually asked Kevin out loud if we could just leave that song off the CD. He immediately shook his head and said, “No Kev, I won’t let you do that. It’s too good of a song not to be included. You’re just tired. It’s not the song’s fault. It’s a great song and it deserves to be on the CD. You’ll be cheating people if you don’t let them hear it.”

I appreciated the thought. But … can I play it? I’m just not sure that I’m good enough.

Please understand, I am just being very honest with you here. We all have our ups and downs. And I am trying to achieve a goal that I’ve had set before me for a long, long time. I don’t care how much you like doing something; when you set out to do a thing you’ve never done before, you have to work at it. And not all the days are going to be full of roses and sunshine. It’s work, plain and simple.

And so I go into a new week feeling as if I’ve completely lost my musical mojo. I know it’s out there somewhere and I suppose I must put my trust in the universe to bring it back to me. Perhaps I’m just over-tired. Perhaps I’m over-frustrated with this pre-packaged, mind-numbing time of year (I’d rather be on the receiving end of a dentist’s drill than at a mall about now).

Or maybe I just need a break from it.

So I am going to leave this blog and go watch something on DVD. Too bad I already finished the new “Star Trek” movie earlier this week because that was fantastic. It was a very nice surprise.

I would go and read something, but I’ve lost that mojo too. For the first time in years, I just don’t feel like reading anything.

Oh well. I’m sure that’ll be back soon too. At least, I hope so.

Funny. Less than a week ago, I finally caved and purchased a Blackberry. I’ve never been more “connected” …

… and felt so disconnected.

– Kevin

Recording Journal Volume 21

What a week. Things are really cooking in the land of CPT Entertainment. And if it were not for that, I would not be able to do all the things that make this MySpace page exist. Yes, I am very grateful. But I also work hard. Too hard. And the last couple of weeks have been a grind; Full days. Brain set on overdrive. Nights. Weekends.

Whatever it takes.

I think the key is being able to identify when to pull back and when to mash the throttle.

Right now, I’ve got the pedal through the floorboard.

To that end, on the music front, KG (Kevin Gorman) and I are smart (stupid?) enough to see that we’ve got some momentum going, so we’re picking up the pace in an effort to draw closer to completing my first full-length CD. We’ve been chipping at it since late June. Because of our respective busy schedules, it is a challenge to find time to get together on a regular basis. But we are now at the point where we can see what this project might become. So we are reaching for our second (or third … or fourth) wind and looking for a kick to the finish.

Don’t get me wrong. It will be weeks (possibly even a few months) yet before we’ve completed the album. But for the first time in this months-long process, I think we both now recognize the potential results. We can see the end. And, of course, the fun of reaching the “end” is that it’s really just a new beginning.

We’re excited about that too.

KG and I managed to get together a few times this week. We recorded the final guitar parts for six songs that will be on our CD. We also recorded the guitar and voiceover for a radio commercial that will air next week to advertise my company’s “CPT Racing Experience” motorsports trade show event.

The songs we put the guitar to for our CD this week: “South Carolina,” “Do Better,” “Kevin’s Prayer,” “No Schedule Man,” “Orlando” and “Awake (But Not Alive).” For the most part, I surprised myself (and KG, I think) at how quickly I was able to lock into the rhythm and get workable stuff recorded within a take or two. I can honestly say that the most trouble I had was in the beginning and end of “Awake,” which is funny because it’s not at all difficult (nothing I play is). But it got into my head and I had a tough time with it.

If I remember correctly, we magnetized the guitar for “Carolina” and “Do Better” in one take.

“Orlando” is a workout for me guitar-wise. Because I don’t play as much as I should, my thumb cramps during songs with a lot of bar chords, which is what I do in that song. I start the tune way up on the eighth fret (“C”) and then jump to F and G up on the eighth and tenth fret (5th-string root) in the verses and then transition back down to the standard chords in the pre-chorus and chorus. A “real” guitar player would not find that difficult in any respect. But it wears me out, and likely will until I play regularly for a while.

In any event, I think we got that song in two takes and it felt good. Now, we have three songs left for the guitar (four if you count re-cutting the guitar for “Song for Sean,” which I think we will) and then we will move to recording vocals. From there, KG will refine all his stuff (piano, percussion, bass, etc) and then we’ll see what we have.

CD artwork discussions are ongoing. A Kevin Bulmer Enterprises logo/symbol is in development. CPT Entertainment is chugging.

Times are good.

Frankly, I’m not surprised. Why? Well, we’ve had our sleeves rolled up and have been slugging away for a long, long time. It’s the only way to do it.

You stand in line for a lottery ticket if you like.

I’ll be working.

Kevin

Recording Journal Volume 20: “Song for Sean”

It was quite a remarkable week. After posting “Song for Sean” (which is explained in the letter on the front of my MySpace page), I was astounded to watch a landslide of feedback pour in to me from people who appreciated the song. In my little corner of the world, it was the biggest deal of anything I’ve done in music (and I’ve been lucky enough to have songs played on the radio, performed on TV and to perform in front of thousands of people). The thing that made it so special was how personally and sincerely people wrote to me. I received an extraordinary amount of feedback, to the extent that I was almost embarrassed by it.

Some snippets:

“Truly an amazing song for an inspirational person.”
 
“Your song gives a peace that only happens occasionally.”
“A beautiful and moving song- it put me to tears.”
“To tell you the truth I was a wee bit misty eyed when I listened to you sing last night … what a beautiful song.”
 
“I think you wrote a really beautiful song.  I like how it’s not only about Sean, but a message to his loved ones that wherever he is, he’s fine and things happen for a reason even if those reasons aren’t understood right away.”


“The song you wrote for Sean is unbelievable.”


“Well – in just minutes, the song has spread like wild fire – you have fans for life!”


“Very touching. It was very powerful and yet soft at the same time, thank you.”
 
“A beautiful song, absolutely a true tribute to a wonderful person. I have listened to all of your songs on Myspace and cannot wait for the release of your CD.”
 
“The first time I heard it at the funeral, I sobbed thru it. This time I truly thought it was a beautiful tribute to a young man.”
 
“Powerful and Delicate at the same time. Truly beautiful.”


“A beautiful song. A comfort for those left here, saddened by Sean’s passing, but joyful for having known him and relieved that his pain has ended.”

Honestly, all I really set out to do was a small favour for a friend at a very difficult time for him. I never intended it to turn into anything more than that, but this what has happened. I am deeply touched and humbled that so many have found comfort in the song.

Ironically, “Song for Sean” was something that happened at the spur of the moment. I did not intend for it to be included on the CD that Kevin Gorman and I are working at. But after this week, it seems clear I better put that song on the disc, otherwise I’ll have some explaining to do.

Speaking of the CD, we did get back to business on that project late this week. Buoyed by the feedback we received for “Song for Sean,” KG and I felt like, “Hey – maybe we can do this and some people might like it.” I realize that sounds silly, but it’s impossible to know how people are going to react to your creations before you put it out there. You just never know.

Having said that, I feel pretty confident that we’re zeroing in on a group of songs I’ll be proud to share. My goal at the outset was to end up with a keepsake and a set of songs that I’ll enjoy listening to. If anyone else likes it, great. If not, well, that will be okay too. At least I’ll have it.

Ironically, the song we chose to work on is a jumpy little acoustic number called “Everything’s Just Fine.” It’s a song I wrote back in 2004 at a time I felt conflicted about accepting some of the things I perceived as “bad” (the failing health of my grandfather; the general circumstances that less-fortunate people have to face) while celebrating and enjoying the things I feel are “good.” The thought is that if we are willing to acknowledge that, sooner or later, we’ll all go through our rough patches, then it only stands to reason that we are all going to go through our good times as well. The song is an affirmation of the idea that life goes on and, despite what the newsmakers might try to tell us, it’s not all bad:

“These days go by in an instant
Life is good, and then it isn’t
But the world and time keep spinnin’
And so will I
‘Cause there are times
When everything’s just fine”

It’s an appropriate song given the events of this past week. And I look forward to sharing it – and many others – as soon as I possibly can.

– Kevin

Recording Journal, Volume 19: “Back on Track?”

We managed to get the train somewhat back on track this week. Given that I was still fighting a cold/flu or some other such malady, I still wasn’t able to do much at the beginning of the week, but KG and I did get together for studio session one evening early in the week. And to be honest, I can’t even remember what we worked on. I think we mostly just listened to what we’d done, reviewed our thoughts, traded a few ideas and then called it a night. There may have been more work on “Bagley Avenue” that night. I honestly can’t recall. Strange.

What I do remember from Monday was attending and singing at a funeral, and in particular, singing a song I wrote just for that occasion. It was a sombre yet inspirational occasion, and I perhaps will go into the circumstances at greater length another day.

For now, I it’s enough to let you know that the tune (“Song for Sean” – see last week’s blog for the lyrics) apparently did the job. I was very touched to have received immediate feedback from the family that they found the song completely appropriate and a fine tribute to a life well-lived. That means more to me than I can possibly tell you.

As a result, when my cold cleared and I was finally able to actually sing again (I rasped it out as best I could at the funeral, but my mouth has never been so dry), KG and I stopped the presses on our own music project and spent our entire end-of-the-week session trying to capture “Song for Sean” on tape. I was pleased with the results and we expect to have it done so you can hear it this coming week. And then we will get back to the rest of the project.

Somehow, this other matter seemed more important.

More to come.

– Kevin

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