Tuesday, September 28, 2004

OKC Concert Set

Alright, we've got another concert date set up. This one is in Oklahoma City at the City Arts building on the fairgrounds. The date is Saturday November 6, at 2:00pm, doors open at 1:30. Mark your calendars! Tell your friends!

This is the same venue used by the Oklahoma Children's Theater by the way. We recently enjoyed our first visit there with Evalyn to see "Schoolhouse Rock Live!" which was very cool. We bought season tickets.

Monday, September 27, 2004

First Concert Set!

OK - Good news!

I finally have the first of (probably) three concert dates set for recording of the new CD!

The show will be at the Student Union Theater on campus in Stillwater, Monday November 22 starting promptly at 7:00pm. Doors open at 6:30. Admission is free. Mark your calendars and tell all your friends! This is going to be one exciting show! More details to come!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Shake It Up!

Great news! The Shake It Up with Fruits and Veggies CD is now commercially available through CDBaby.com!

This is the CD that includes my new song, "I Go Bananas." You can hear a clip from the song at the link above.

This CD includes seventeen songs from seventeen artists, most of whom wrote and recorded music just for this project. Our assignment was to provide fun songs promoting fruits and veggies that you can dance or move to. This CD was designed for teachers to use in the classroom, but I think anyone will enjoy it. You can preview all the songs at CDBaby, so give it a listen!

And the price is right at only $9.99 - for 17 super songs!

For more on how I became involved with this project, read the press release: Los Angeles Kids to "Go Bananas" with New Song from Monty Harper.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Three is a Magic Number

We held our third rehearsal Wednesday, and it was a productive one. It only took half an hour to set up (as opposed to the hour it took last time) now that we kind of know what we're doing. So we got in more time, and we worked through six (count them!) songs: "Pop Up Sit Down," "The Frog Song," "Silly Song," "You're a Dinosaur," "Hanging Out With Heroes at the Library," and "Big Red Fire Truck."

It was a challenge to explain to the other guys what some of these songs are like in front of an audience, but we soon got the communication thing down. Basically what I needed to learn was: "Shut up and sing!" The same principal applies when performing, if you want the audience to do something for you I've learned the less said about it the better. Over-explaining will lose them every time!

Poor Cody, our drummer, hadn't gotten much sleep. When I asked if we could do one more song from last time, he said, "You know which one I want," so we did "Big Red Fire Truck" just for him, and it perked him right up! I can't wait to perform these songs for you all - it's only going to be the funnest concert ever!

Which brings me to the performances - sorry, no news. It's been a frustrating week on that front. All my tentative plans fell apart. So I am working frantically to figure out when and where we'll play. As soon as I know anything I'll post it here.

We are also interested in rehearsing at least once in front of a group of kids and parents. If you have need for entertainment some evening in October and room for a band to perform, let me know!

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Rehearsal Number 2

We had our second band rehearsal for the new CD yesterday. We welcomed Brad Hardy into the group on bass. Brad is a teacher at the Middle School here in Stillwater. We're glad to finally have the line-up finalized with John on electric guitar, Cody on drums, Brad on bass, and me on acoustic guitar and singing.

We started with "Big Red Fire Truck" and it was a blast! This song was meant to rock and I've never been able to do it justice with an acoustic arrangement. So it was almost like hearing it for the first time once we kicked into the groove. Very cool! Cody in particular seemed surprised and delighted that we were rocking out to a lyric about a fire truck! Fun, fun fun!

Next we worked on "Loose Tooth" and then we re-visited "Trick or Treat Smell My Feet." Last time we'd given "Trick or Treat" something of a Reggae feel. This time we brought the arrangement closer to being its own thing. I relaxed into the vocal, and it feels like it's starting to click.

I'm so excited about this new approach! I can't wait for you to hear these songs!

On the performance front, November 10 is no longer on the calendar. I'm working on some other possibilities, but I don't want to say anything yet. As soon as we have a date and location firmed up I will let you know.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Our First Rehearsal

It's been a long couple of weeks, trying to set my plans in motion for the new CD. After many setbacks, yesterday we held our first rehearsal.

Right now the band consists of myself, John Howk on electric guitar and/or bass, and Cody Byassee on drums. John and Cody are students here at OSU and have played together before. They are professional-minded musicians and are working hard with me to create arrangements well-suited to each song. I'm lucky to have found them!

We still need either a keyboard player or a bass player. If you know anybody, shoot me an email - monty@montyharper.com!

We worked on three songs yesterday: "Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet," "Hanging Out With Heroes at the Library," and "You're a Dinosaur." I brought home a recording of our best efforts for evaluation. We have a long way to go, but I'm very excited about the direction it's taking! This CD is going to have an energy and excitement to it that will make it a real standout recording.

Our first live show (out of three) is tentatively scheduled for November 10 in Stillwater, so mark your calendars! The recording engineer will be Steve McLinn of Ojas Studio in OKC. Steve is a recording guru - he knows equipment better than anyone I know, and he has a fantastic ear. He'll capture sparkling recordings of our shows.

We are working on the idea of providing a CD for sale immediately after each program. Of course it will be offered "as is" with all the glitches inherent in a live performance. But audience members will be able to take home the ultimate souvenir - a recording of the exact concert they just saw, with their own voices cheering and singing along.

The commercial release will consist of the best performance of each song, selected from among the various programs, and the sound will be improved with careful editing, mixing, and mastering - just a bit of polish to make sure the CD will stand up really well to repeated listening.

Stay tuned!