Do You Play Poker?

By Johnny Dwinell

So terrestrial radio is gone…or almost gone. If you’re a new artist you certainly can’t count on it to break you in the Rock or Pop music genres anymore. MAYBE you’ll do it in country, but the clock is ticking on that too. Ugh, I know, it’s totally depressing, but when one door closes a window opens up or visa-versa I don’t remember. LOL

What are the newly opened windows?

Well, the good news is they’re AWESOME 40 foot tall giant picture windows with a view of the entire planet…and WHAT A VIEW!!

I am so freaking excited about the future of the music industry, man. I’m rambling.

Btw I’m listening to this killer band right now.

DSC_0907

 

…And I am about 3 cocktails in, its 1:00 am in the morning, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m gonna try a little artistic writing experiment and just type stream-of-consciousness as much as possible, ok? Little writer’s block I guess…ugh.

I’m getting off on this record tonight. These guys are friends of mine (remember that blog about relationships??) and I produced one of the tracks on the record. (Email me if you wanna know which one.)

It all starts with the song; they’re all fucking great. They write feel-good, laid-back, vibey songs about love. Probably shouldn’t bother listening if you prefer to be anxious…just sayin’

The musicianship is incredible.

Eli Hludzik provides the perfect feel for these songs with his smart percussive arrangements; like there can’t be Eli Hludzik Poker imageanother drummer that could shape this sound the same way.

What you think?

Eli’s extremely creative with the sonics as a percussionist; I remember he literally brought a footlocker full of drum toys (including goat’s toes!!) to my studio.  I loved that about our session together, it was refreshing.  We were like two kids in a sandbox.

 

The arrangements are SUPER creative by all members which YOU KNOW is rare.

Etienne Franc Poker imageEtienne (pronounced A, T, N,) Franc starts this intricate, brilliant instrumental effort with a foundation that not only serves the song but gently keeps you intoxicated inside each track. Seriously, somebody please tell me…how the hell does he do it so well when the he gets elaborate with the bass lines? How does he make it work so flawlessly?

 

 

Etienne and Eli are like a good wine and exotic cheese paired perfectly.

The singer is Mike Frieman. His smooth, easy-going, Sunday afternoon voice just takes the edge off of any situation and puts life back into perspective, a good perspective. I can’t explain why really, but it just totally has that effect onMike Poker Spaceneedle image me. His vocals are somewhat hypnotizing and somehow the lyrics kinda belong to the melodies ya know?

Hand-crafted, I guess?

He communicates in a simple way that is lyrically more intelligent than pop but certainly dripping with pop sensibilities in a jam bandy kind of way. I think you’ll find Mike artistically identifiable and smart. I sure did.

Out of everyone in the band, I’m probably closest to the guitar player, George Laird. I’ve known him for awhile now. We met outside of the music world and, oddly, it took us years to connect those dots…weird right? Strange, but true!

Listen to George’s beautiful arrangements, man. He really nailed these guitar parts on this record with grace and melody. His sound is very organic even with the electrics in the mix (their first record was totally acoustic, FYI, but that’s a whole nutha Oprah).

 

George Laird Poker imageI remember the night we tracked the guitar solo on the song I was STOKED to produce. We were definitely drinking, vibing, feeling good, and trying to find the most appropriate soaring melodic guitar solo. We worked that one…I remember…it didn’t come right away. But it did finally come and in a BIG way! We crafted the arrangement together and then we needed the performance, ya know? Then, BOOM he nailed it! George delivered an amazing performance that required controlling the feedback Hendrix-style at the end. We were freaking out, LOL! (We really were.)

George is a really sick guitar player; an artist. He is just so creative, man, fun to produce.

Listen to the guitar arrangements under those vocals first and focus on his right-hand, you won’t be disappointed; it’s smooth.

I’m drifting along with the silky current of the guitar arrangements on “Forever Sometimes” right now. The acoustic sucks you in a little left of center and then there is a gentle, clean, cascading set of guitar showers that rinse the day away cleanly. Oh, and it builds to a euphoria that I just recovered from, whoa.

I forgot about that one.

(Yeah, I’m a little drunk…don’t judge me, man, LOL)

Now go back and listen again but this time to the solos. George has great pocket, sense of melody; he moves you with each solo performance, more cleverly and crafted then any jam band, btw.

Ultimately there is SPACE

…that might be the opiate in this musical equation; great space. I offer sincere respect to the whole band for their sense of space which really is the final frontier for any musician.

The mastery of space means you finally get it; you’ve arrived artistically.

The lead-off single called “The Stand In” is a song with TV/Movie star Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl, Country Strong) who joins Mike in a duet about meeting your true love (Hint: this is NOT the one I produced). Leighton starts with a wonderful vocal that is supple and vulnerable floating on a well constructed melody. Then Mike comes in softly and takes the track to another level; forget about the chorus…you’ll have to experience that yourself. You can get a free download HERE if you want.

CITD + Leighton Meester Poker studio image

I am tripping on this record mostly because I’m feeling it tonight, but partly because it is the record that we are about to release.

Listen I’m proud of the band for their effort. I’m proud of my effort with the band for one of the songs we worked on together, and I’m proud of what we are about to do very quietly in the marketing space.

Oh, yeah, the name of the band is Check in the Dark.

Btw, the significance of the name revolves around Poker.

Poker winnings funded the debut album. LOL

I’m interested in your opinion with regards to the market.DSC_5393

Who do you think their audience is?

What other artist’s audience would most likely dig Check in the Dark?

What tour would be the most advantageous to them?

 

 

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