The Lovespies

singing of brightness and beauty

It’s Picture Day Tomorrow May 30, 2009

Filed under: By Julie,Dreaming,Waiting For You — thelovespies @ 11:20 pm

Tomorrow we have the First Official Lovespies Photo Shoot. The photographs will be taken by our lovely friend, Kristen. She found a fabulous field with some woods nearby and got permission to use it. And she is SO creative and a brilliant photographer. I can’t wait to see what she does with us.

I just had a lot of fun trying on a million outfits, trying to create something interesting out of my wardrobe, added to some of my friend Linda’s clothes I found in her closet today. I came up with a couple of options; we’ll see how they look in the field. I have no idea what Rob is wearing.

And then my friend Christina is doing my eye makeup. Now if I could just figure out the hair….

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A Delightful and Random Discovery: Peter Adams May 29, 2009

Filed under: By Julie,Inspiration — thelovespies @ 12:11 am

 

Peter Adams cover

I just stumbled upon this DELIGHTFUL musician and his DELICIOUS music tonight!  His name is Peter Adams, and I can’t wait for you to hear him!

Here’s the totally random way it happened:  I was looking for a website for a lovely (but now-defunct) pop/folk duo, eastmountainsouth.  I couldn’t find one, so I started looking up the people in the duo to see if they had done any solo projects. The guy half is named Peter Adams, so I clicked on the first link google gave me, which is the above link.  

It turns out that the Peter Adams I was looking for is Peter Bradley Adams. But I like my new Peter Adams even more!

 

Here’s a blurb from his website:

Wandering through a floating jungle with a string band and stumbling onto a ruined city of waterlogged bass drums, mossy chord organs, and a tribe of harmoniums dancing in anarchic fervor to a primeval phonograph of the moon singing to the ocean.

Peter Adams is a critically-acclaimed musician from Cincinnati whose self-made albums have received worldwide attention. Mixing a variety of styles and influences, Peter creates a lush musical world that is entirely his own.

He writes, produces and plays everything on his albums, and the music is SO gorgeous!  He uses bells, violin, accordion, guitar and who knows what else to create lovely songs.  Rob said it reminded him of music that would accompany a magical children’s book story.

AND he has “pay what you want” pricing for his downloads.

Are you intrigued yet?  If so, go HERE and listen to him.  Right now!  (And while you’re there, you must see The Lunaphonic Omnibox.  Isn’t he so VERY creative?)

***Update – I sent him an email and he wrote back. See, he’s friendly also! He comes to Nashville for shows sometimes, so we’ll all have to go next time, ok?

 

Conversations To Avoid While Recording May 27, 2009

Filed under: By Julie,Recording,So Soon — thelovespies @ 7:08 pm

 

(Wherein The Lovespies discover that their chats about the songs should probably be recorded, too.)

 

Guitar Player/Producer:  Can we talk about the arrangement for So Soon?  

Singer/Writer:  What do you want to know?  I’m kind of busy.

(They briefly talk about the first part of the song.)

SW:  Can you just make it slow and dreamy?  Just do whatever arrangement you want.

 

[A couple of weeks later.]

 

GP:  Ok, I’ve finished all the guitars and I need you to do the scratch vocal.

SW:  I’m ready.

(They start recording the vocals and get to the end of the instrumental chorus.)

SW:  Wait.  Why does it do that part once and not three times like we do it live?

GP:  I thought we were going to do it the slow way we used to do it.

SW:  Yeah, but we were going to leave in that new part.

GP:  Why didn’t you tell me this when I wanted to talk to you about the arrangement?

SW:  You didn’t ask me about that part.  You just asked me about the first part.

GP:  But I wanted to talk to you about the arrangement and you were too busy.  You said to do it however I wanted to.

SW:  But I didn’t mean to leave out that part.

GP:  !!!

GP:  I have to re-record the guitars.

 

[A little while later.]

 

SW:  Sorry.

 

Opposites Attract: The History Of The Lovespies May 20, 2009

Filed under: By Julie,History — thelovespies @ 1:32 pm

Militia

Rob and I come from very different musical backgrounds to say the very least.

In high school, he played guitar in a thrash-metal band named Militia. Their music sounded as lovely and inspiring as their name led you to expect. Which means that you were more likely to want to jump off a building than jump for joy after listening to them. They even had a punk song called “Beat Your Mother Like A Drum”.  Rob’s hair was long and scruffy and he wore leather jackets and Metallica t-shirts.  (Look over there to see what I mean.  That’s Militia and Rob is the one with the cigarette.)

Around that same time, I was listening to The Beatles and any kind of Broadway soundtrack I could get my hands on. I had memorized every word to The Sound Of Music, Annie and Les Miserables.  I also enjoyed my mother’s old records of Petula Clark, Skeeter Davis and The Box Tops, a band my uncle produced.  I took piano lessons every week and loved playing classical music.  I was in marching band for 6 years and concert band for 8 years.  

Julie Band

I wore bows in my hair and could not sing in front of someone without almost throwing up, which means that I avoided it at all costs.  I did love to sing in church, though, where the voices all blended together in delicious four-part harmony and I thought no one could hear me.

We joke that it’s a very good thing we didn’t meet each other for at least another decade or we would have never spoken to each other in a million years.  However, during that decade, we both changed a little.  

Rob studied classical guitar from one of Manuel Barrueco’s students and moved to Nashville to go to college, where he  joined a 70s art-rock band and eventually cut his long, long hair.  He also began experimenting with alternate guitar tunings and writing Celtic-inspired songs.

I went to college, sang in a couple of large choirs, an improvisational children’s theatre troupe and a musical.  Then I  moved to Nashville, learned to play guitar and worked on being brave enough to sing in front of others by myself.  

Our paths finally converged when we met through a mutual friend at The Crucible, a class designed for creative people.  The first time I saw Rob, he was playing one of his Celtic songs with a band that included a penny whistle played by Rob himself.  Being of Celtic descent, I fell in love….with the music.  (The rest would come four years later.)

We became friends and a couple of years later, we were asked to do the wedding music for our dear friends Nina and Moses.  It was our first official collaboration, and while the result ended up sounding ok, the experience was AWFUL!  I thought he was overbearing and arrogant, and he thought I was hysterical and insane.  Granted, I was extremely nervous and very inexperienced, but I was not insane.  I promise.  (Shut up, Eric.)

Fast forward a couple of years:  we magically fell in love one summer and got married on the first day of fall.  The same year!  Musically, he had been writing even more Celtic songs and some gorgeous instrumental guitar pieces.  I had somehow written a handful of pop songs, quite by accident, I think, since I had no intention of singing them for anyone.  

Wedding PicAfter we got married, Rob began writing acoustic rock songs and playing shows with those.  He even won a couple of Acoustic Hero performance contests in Nashville and Atlanta, advancing to the national finals in Chicago.  And thanks to Rob’s encouragement, I was finally brave enough to sing in front of others so thought I would put a pop band together.  However, with the exception of a couple of recordings and one or two tiny shows, my band remained just a fantastic idea in my head.

For a couple of years there, we were also playing together every Saturday at a homeless outreach in an old warehouse near the projects.  Our church sponsored the outreach, and our job was to play some background music that would create a peaceful atmosphere while other volunteers served lunch to whomever came.  We were joined most of the time by our friends Michael, a mandolin player, and Jon, a string bass player.  Occasionally, Javier would bring his djembe and play along if he was in town, and others would join in from time to time.  We would sing familiar hymns sometimes, but most of the time we would make up our own hymns and songs spontaneously and just play whatever we wanted for two hours.

We really enjoyed playing together and after some other similar experiences, we realized we wanted to form a band together.  It would certainly be easier than having two separate bands.  And honestly, I would have never been able to do music if left to my own devices, so there would have really only been one band in the end:  Rob’s.

So there you have it:  the musical history of The Lovespies.  

Who would have thought that a “Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow”-singing musical theatre enthusiast combined with an ex-thrash-metal/70s art- rock/classical guitarist would sound like this?  

Maybe our band should be named Newton’s Third Law.

 

Houston, We Have (Possible) Contact May 18, 2009

Filed under: By Julie,Dreaming,Waiting For You — thelovespies @ 2:10 pm

We are trying to get our song “Waiting For You” in a movie called “The Time Traveler’s Wife”.  A few years ago we both read the book, and it inspired Rob so much that he had to write a song about it.  (I’m sure there will be an upcoming blog entry about that.)  Well, now a movie has been made of the book and it is due to be released in August of this year.

As it happens, we just finished the final recording and mix of our song a couple of weeks ago.  Since then, we have been asking everyone we know if they know any movie people or song pluggers.  Because we live in Nashville, one of the song writing capitals of the world, it turns out that we know quite a few people with the proper contacts.

Today, I got an email from my friend Leslie who has a screenwriter cousin in Los Angeles, and guess what!  It turns out that he knows the movie’s director and will be happy to pass something along to him.  We are just waiting to hear back about what to send.

In the meantime, we are saying little prayers, wishing on stars, crossing our fingers and recording more songs.

***Update:  It turns out that the cousin knows the director well enough that he convinced him to cast the little girl who appears in the film.  Wow.

***Another update:  It also turns out that the movie was completely finished by the time we got anything to them.  O well.  Maybe it could go in another movie.

 

A Day For Percussion May 16, 2009

Filed under: By Julie,Recording,Time Machine #13 — thelovespies @ 10:04 am

Today, Rob is going to our friend Javier’s house to record some percussion for our song “Time Machine #13”.

We love Javier. He’s an awesome guy and an amazing drummer. He’s got lots of degrees (bachelor & master’s) in drumming, and he has worked as a professional drummer for years and years now. Currently, he is the drummer for The Annie Moses Band, and they travel a whole lot. So it is very nice that he is in town right when we need some percussion parts recorded.

Javier has a house in East Nashville, and Rob just packs up his recording gear and takes it over there. No one disturbs them and they don’t bother anyone else. It’s great!

Javi is an amazingly versatile drummer, and you should check out jazz combo, the JJ Saint James Band.  The singer is another friend of ours, Aynsley McLean.  She recorded one of Rob’s songs on her lovely lullaby album, and you can hear some of it here.   Look for the song Sweet Dreams.

Don’t they sound awesome?  It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented friends. We’ll be writing about more of them soon.

(P.S.  You can hire the JJ Saint James Band for events if you want to impress your guests with awesome music.)

 

Singing Of Brightness And Beauty May 14, 2009

Filed under: By Julie,Inspiration — thelovespies @ 9:22 pm

I love to read great books, don’t you?  

I started reading when I was four years old, and I have been captivated ever since.  I especially love fiction, with Russian, British and Southern Gothic literature being among my favorites.  

Rob loves poetry, especially William Blake, Wallace Stevens, Seamus Heaney and John Updike.  And we are both head over heels in love with the American poet Billy Collins.  (In fact, he is speaking at a writer’s seminar at a local university next month, and we are trying our best to figure out a way to go.)

So inspiration from books has been always present.  Here’s a quote from one of my favorite books, Cancer Ward, by one of my favorite authors, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn.  

“Her smile was kind, not so much her smile as the lips themselves. They were vital separate lips, which seemed about to flutter from her face like a lark into the sky. They were made, as all lips are, for kissing, yet they had other more important work to do: to sing of brightness and beauty.” 

When I read that years ago in my bed late at night, I had to get up and write it down so I would not forget how important this work of singing really is.  

I think it might be possible to bring brightness and beauty to the world with a song, and if it is possible, I want to do it.