Archive for the ‘About me’ Category

2010 in review

January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 130,000 times in 2010. If it were an exhibit at The Louvre Museum, it would take 6 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 72 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 267 posts. There were 27 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 52mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was November 16th with 790 views. The most popular post that day was Abbey Road.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for abbey road, paul mccartney, the beatles abbey road, beatles abbey road, and iphone 3g.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Abbey Road October 2009


iPhone use up sharply: video, music needed! June 2009


How much do you edit a song to fit the visuals? December 2009


How to polish your drum loops October 2009


Happy Beatles Day! September 2009

The Meaning of Christmas

December 25, 2010


I can’t say it any better than Linus! Merry Christmas!


December 19, 2010

Here is a link to a song I just finished up last night. It’s called “Jefferson,” and it’s about the tiny East Texas town that my mother’s family have lived in for several generations. Mom lives there still, in the post-Civil-War house on the hill that I grew up knowing as my Pa-Pa and Boots’ house.  (My grandmother, the legend went, was small enough to fit inside a cowboy boot when she was a baby — thus the nickname).

The song is a piano ballad that contains a series of literal images from visits there in my youth. For you fellow recording nerds out there, I recorded it with Sonar and some software synthesizers by Cakewalk. I used plug-ins by Line 6 and Ik Multimedia, among others.  I used an AT 4047 as my main vocal mic, with a ribbon mic for background vocals, and Line 6 and Hagstrom guitars and my old Epiphone bass (with a “toaster” style pickup in it). Everything went through a gray market “Neve” style preamp.

Hope you enjoy it! You can listen to it as often as you wish at the above link; if you’d rather purchase it, you can do so via iTunes here.

Here are the lyrics:

Jefferson, by Christopher Ave

Hide inside the old clubhouse my Mama’s Daddy made
Fly beside me as I rush to the moss beside the glade
Climb up the narrow stairs that lead to the attic mysteries
Sit down upon the old green rocker and sing your melodies

Oh hear the mournful song
of the lonely midnight train
So near, it won’t be long
till the morning’s sad refrain

So come down with me to my history
With hopes displayed, where outside games were made up, lost and won
Just walk with me on those red brick streets
And see the way my worries were undone
In Jefferson

City kid of eight or nine with glasses on my face
The folks had split and I was fine with changing up my place
The town was where I lost my cares in a southern state of grace
and learned the life away from strife in an ancient, languid pace

Oh hear the mournful song
of the lonely midnight train
So near, it won’t be long
till the morning’s sad refrain

So come down with me to my history
With hopes displayed, where outside games were made up, lost and won
Just walk with me on those red brick streets
And see the way my worries were undone
In Jefferson

In Jefferson
the only time I saw
my paw paw cry
he’d lost his bride

So come down with me to my history
With hopes displayed, where outside games were made up, lost and won
Just walk with me on those red brick streets
And see the way my worries were undone…
In Jefferson

New version of Sonar coming: Sonar X1

November 1, 2010

My friends at Cakewalk just announced a brand new version of their flagship multitrack recording software product: Sonar X1. Read all about it here.

As a longtime, loyal Cakewalk user (remember Pro Audio anybody?) I am PUMPED about this one!

STUDIO SECRET REVEALED: How to improve your sound

October 25, 2010

Craig Anderton is an institution in the studio music world as an author, blogger, performer, designer and all-around nice guy.

Today I wanted to share a simple insight from Craig that I saw over on a forum he moderates over at Harmony Central, “Craig Anderton’s Sound, Studio and Stage.”

It’s this:

“The cheapest, quickest, and most effective way to improve the sound of your studio is to write a better chorus.” -Craig Anderton

What a marvelous way of saying that in the end — after you’ve updated your software and mortgaged the house to get the latest tube preamp and that pristine 1957 Strat — what counts most is whether you have a good song in the first place.

So thanks, Craig, from one more composer-performer-engineer guy who needed to hear that it’s about the music, and the performance, much more than it is about the tools.

Getting Better, indeed

October 22, 2010

It was never a single, this little slice of Beatles pop circa 1967, and it is never listed as among their greatest achievements. But for me, “Getting Better” sums up the optimism, the unfettered joy that the Beatles represented better than almost anything else they ever did. And, as a bonus, it features the perfect shorthand version of Paul and John’s relationship.

Recorded at Abbey Road in their ground-breaking sessions for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, “Getting Better” really doesn’t break new ground musically or lyrically. It re-uses the almost mechanical, four-beats-per-measure percussion that Paul pioneered with earlier songs like “Got To Get You Into My Life” and “Penny Lane.” But in its metronome beat and soaring vocals, the song perfectly portrays that most elusive of emotions – joy.

And after Paul’s hyper-optimism (“Getting better all the t-i-i-ime”) comes John’s sardonic rejoinder: “Can’t get no worse.” A neater summation of the magic of that partnership can’t be found.

And so, apropos of nothing, I submit “Getting Better,” my personal theme song and the relentlessly perfect portion of joy.

SND video uses “Mad Designers” as music theme

September 24, 2010

Here’s a promotional video done in 60’s-era animation style by Brian Williamson to promote the Society of News Design’s 2011 conference in St. Louis. Brian asked me to produce a piece of music for the video, and I tried to come up with a Mad Men-esque sound to suit the visual style. (Which was a treat for me, as Mad Men is my personal favorite show).

For you musicians, I used Cakewalk’s Sonar, synths from Dimension Pro, a Hofner-style bass, a Strat with Line 6 amp and effect sounds and drum samples from Smart Loops.

Let me know what you think!

Top 100 guitar riffs…. all in a row

August 18, 2010

My youngest son, aged 8, is learning guitar. I recently bought him an electric Strat copy and a small amp, and he almost instantly started playing the riffs to “Smoke On The Water” and “Iron Man,” along with the melody to the theme from Pink Panther. It got me to thinking about those classic rock guitar riffs all guitarists fumble around with at one point or another. The man above, named Brodie Cumming, managed to play what he’s calling the Top 100 guitar riffs of all time in a single take, over about seven and a half minutes. Check it out!

New song: “Deadline.”

July 26, 2010

Click here for my latest song, “Deadline.” It’s a song about anticipation, about wanting something RIGHTNOW.  As was the case with “Copy Editor’s Lament (The Layoff Song),”I was inspired by my experiences as a newspaper editor — this time, I was thinking of the times I’ve spent waiting for a story to be turned in. Musically, I was going for a later-period George Harrison sound.

UPDATE: If you like what you hear, you can buy the song at here and at iTunes right here.

(For fellow music-production nerds, I used Cakewalk’s Sonar, with plugs by IK Multimedia among others. I recorded background vocals with a TNC (Chinese import) ribbon mic into a TNC preamp, and the lead vocal was recorded with a Audio Technica 4047 into a Groove Tubes Brick preamp. I used my Line 6 Variax electric guitar along with a $30 Craigslist find, a 60’s-era Teisco for the slide guitar parts).

Here are the lyrics:

Here I sit, I’m waiting again
I can’t quit until you hit “send”
Taking your time to polish all your phrases
Never you mind if I make some changes

(chorus:) I will live a life sublime
Told in tales of endless rhyme
If only you reply in time
For my deadline

All the pieces will fall into place
All my questions will vanish into space
Biding my time till night turns into day
Walking the line until you come my way


All of my passion, all of my pain
Would find compassion
If not for your disdain


Revamped website, plus ReverbNation

March 15, 2010

I’m happy to let you know that my website has been refreshed with better navigation and some new tunes. Now, you will find the music I’ve done for video, radio and multimedia projects in the “Music reel” section, and my pop stuff in the “Pop/rock music” section. I’ve added new stuff to each page, to drop by and take a listen!

Also, I’ve created a page on ReverbNation, a site that helps market musicians and their work. I would really appreciate it if you dropped by and signed up for my emails or became a “fan,” as presumptuous as that sounds. Thanks!