Song of the Week: Voodoo Lounge

Hey there!

I’m going to try to share as many new songs as I can, over the next month or two. These are songs I’m thinking about putting onto my next CD, in draft form. The mix is my “homebrew” version, and will likely be very different when the album comes out next summer. It’ll almost certainly be better there. But it’s a chance for you to start to get to know the songs themselves, and a chance for me to hear what *you* like.

Today’s offering is something I call “Voodoo Lounge.” It’s something I wrote to fill a hole in my catalog – I don’t have a good New Orleans blues number. I expect it’ll get the whole “smoky blues” treatment by Kevin.

The story behind the song is…well, I made it up. πŸ™‚ That said, anyone out there who actually knows something about Voudou isn’t likely to get *too* annoyed at me, because I tried to get enough of the details right.

I’d like to know what you think of it, so please leave comments or send me an email.

Here’s the song: Voodoo Lounge

I hope you like it.

And Happy New Years!

Loren

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Vacation Travelogue – My Pictures

In which I post a few pictures and talk about a few of the memorable moments of my trip last month to the Keys. Note that these are all *my* pictures, and none of them have me in them. I may do another post with other people’s pics later, and I’ll edit and link it in here.

Let’s start up at the top of the Keys:

I saw a manatee!

Florida is home to the endangered manatees. After nine years, I finally saw my first manatee while in Key Largo. πŸ™‚ I’d been sitting at the bar when I saw folks gathered around the boat dock and heard some commotion. I figured I should check that out, and sure enough, we had a manatee stopping by to listen to the music! πŸ™‚

(Note: You’re not supposed to feed manatees *or* give them water, like was happening here. I wasn’t doing any of the above; I was just taking pictures. πŸ™‚ )

The folks throwing the Pit Stop Party in Key Largo have a nice flat boat that they took folks out on. I got to go on the Tuesday night sunset cruise:

Sunset in Key Largo

And I got to stay in a beautiful house on the Atlantic side, with this view in the mornings:

Key Largo morning

From here, I went down to Key West, and saw more cool scenery at Southernmost on the Beach:

Southernmost - beautiful beach!

One of the big events of the weekend was the Street Fest on Friday. Buffett showed up, after I’d retreated from street level to friends’ rooms at the La Concha. Here’s a pic showing some of the crowd near the stage, which doesn’t do it justice:

Ground-level view at the Street Fest, pre-Buffett

If you look at the hotel behind the stage, I ended up on a balcony above the tile you see, on the second floor.

I sing about sunsets at Mallory Square. Well, Saturday night I couldn’t see the sun set, but I went down there anyway, and had a drink by the water next door at the Westin:

Sitting at water's edge near Mallory Square

It was windy, with a front coming in. And getting chilly. The sunset boats were seriously reefed:

Reef them sails before we capsize!

The sunset cruises are fun. You get live music and free drinks included in the price. The only thing not guaranteed is a view of the sun setting.

One of the most wonderful views I found of the water was…wait for it…at the Key West McDonald’s on Roosevelt Blvd. I’m not making this up:

Because I deserved a break.

I believe this qualifies as the cheapest Gulf view dining in the Keys.

I’ve felt very much connected with my ocean- and Gulf-view pictures today. There are other pics of various music-related stuff; I’ll try to put those in another post sometime. I wanted to share the sheer beauty down there, the stuff that gets right into my gut and unknots it and puts a shit-eating grin on my face.

Yeah. That stuff. I love me some Florida Keys.

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New Song – Looking at You

Hi,

Today I begin a new series of occasional posts about my upcoming album. I don’t have a title for it yet, but Kevin (my producer) and I have started work on it, I’ve written and polished most of the songs for it already, and as I turn out “scratch” demos for him to work on, I want to share a few of those.

First, a word about “scratch” demos: A scratch demo is a preliminary version of a song used in this case to give my producer something to build the production of the song around. Sometimes it’s a fair idea of what the final song might sound like; sometimes not. It’s like the first draft of a novel, or the pre-colored version of a comic panel.

I’m currently making scratch demos in GarageBand; I used to make them in ProTools. I might do a post about that process, as it might be interesting or enlightening to someone at some point. But that’s neither here nor there right now.

Today’s demo is of a song titled “Looking at You.” It consists of one guitar, one vocal, and canned Apple Loop drums. Other than a little reverb and EQ (equalization/tone shaping), not much has been done to it.

The story behind this song is interesting. As many of my friends know, I’m a big fan of the movie Casablanca. I can quote large sections of it, and occasionally annoy whomever I’m watching the movie with. πŸ™‚ It occurred to me a couple of months ago that the stories of Casablanca and “Margaritaville” have a lot in common: Narrator loses girl; narrator goes someplace tropical and starts drinking heavily. The settings, subplots, and outcomes differ significantly, but both seem to start from roughly the same place.

I thought, “Well, what if Rick got to Casablanca and discovered it was perfect for him? What if he met a new lady, made lots of friends, and got over that faithless Ilsa? What if, when she shows up on scene with her husband, he tells her, “Y’know kid…you dumping me in the Paris train station was the best thing that ever happened to me.” What would that look like? Would it make an interesting song?

I thought it would. So I started work on a song that I call a cross between “Margaritaville” and “How Do You Like Me Now?” And the title, and a few of the lyrics, pay tribute to Casablanca, as they should.

I’m hoping that the final version will end with a steel pan playing a few notes from “As Time Goes By.”

Check it out here: Looking At You

Love it? Hate it? Let me know what you think.

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Living my Bliss – What I Did on my Vacation

(Yes, the title of this post is a tribute to post-summer essays from my childhood. My vacations have improved somewhat since then.)

I’ve now been home almost a week from this year’s Key West vacation at Meeting of the Minds (MOTM). It’s a working vacation for me, because I need to be out performing, networking, and otherwise promoting myself as a Trop Rock artist. So there’s always this inner conflict going on between “need to be at X event(s)” and “want to sit by the water and do nothing.”

This year I made sure to do some of both. I was going eight days in a row partying, and I knew that if I didn’t pace myself, I’d never make it through. So I did, and I did, and my voice was in better shape on my second Monday than on my first as a result.

I did get out to play in quite a few places, and you can see a lot of the pictures on my Facebook pages. I played with and around a bunch of my fellow Trop Rockers, and had something I was invited to play at every day this year – a first.

Here’s a partial list of the cool and talented folks who either invited me to gig with them, or whom I actually did gig with: Captain Josh Ramsteck, Chris Sacks, Dusty and Barry of the Conch Fritters, Gary PhillipS, Barbara Smith and Scott Paulsen, John Friday, and the good folks at BeachFront Radio. Thank you, one and all, for inviting me to be part of your party.

I also wrote drafts for two new songs down there, one more than usual. πŸ™‚

Even cooler than that: I’ve been doing a lot of spiritual work the past year around embodying and manifesting bliss in my daily life. It’s easy to be blissful, driving through the Keys and looking at the gorgeous scenery. Something I consciously focused on this year was drinking in all that natural beauty and the magnificently-elated mood I’m in when I’m down there and “storing” it inside me. Now that I’m home, all I have to do is remember one or more of those really cool, magical moments when I could look out at the water or breathe the air, and no matter what’s going on, I feel better. And I’m still smiling about 95% of the time.

My friend Howard Livingston calls that “Living on Key West Time.” I call it “Island Standard Time.” It’s the same thing no matter what you call it – remembering what it’s like to be in that beautiful place, surrounded by several thousand of your closest friends, excellent music, good booze, and spectacular scenery, no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Heck; I’m even smiling my way through rush hour traffic.

If you were down there too, try that the next time you’re faced with something that’s been stressful for you in the past. If you weren’t down there, remember the last really wonderful and blissful time you had, breathe that in, and remember it when things threaten to get a bit shitty. What’s the worst that can happen?

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Sunday 11/27 – Loren Davidson Music in Your Living Room!

Good news! I’ve finally assembled a gift bag full of round tuits, and am scheduling my next online concert via StageIt. Here’s the link:

http://www.stageit.com/loren_davidson/post_thanksgiving_recovery_show/5820

For approximately 50 minutes, I’ll be playing music, telling stories, and sharing a good time with whomever shows up. And it’s all as close as your computer! πŸ™‚ Expect a few of my songs you might already know, maybe a cover or two, and a few relatively new songs that I’m thinking of putting on my next album.

My friends who showed up for my last StageIt show had a great time, and most of them have been gently nagging me to do another one. So here it is. Nobody wants to leave the house on the Sunday after Thanksgiving anyway – the football games are mostly over, the turkey remnants have been frozen, and either you’ve made it home from your relatives’ place or you’ve tossed all your guests out by then and told them to go home. And if you’re a shopping fiend, you’ve probably done that to death by Sunday and you’re ready to mellow out a bit.

How it Works

In order to watch the show, you will need to create an account with StageIt if you don’t already have one. Sometime between now and the show date, go to their home page and click the “Sign Up” link at the top right. They’ll want some info from you like an email address and payment info, and they’ll want you to buy at least $5 in “notes,” which is what you’ll use to buy tickets to shows and to tip performers. Like me. πŸ™‚ Each “note” is worth ten cents, so 50 notes is worth $5.00.

While I do list a suggested ticket price of $5, I’ve left it editable, so you can adjust it all the way down to zero if you want. But I hope you’ll consider paying the price and helping me afford to produce my next album. Or pay my next bar bill.

A few minutes before show time, click the link I placed up above, sign in, and kick back with a cold one. The show will appear, Webcam-style, once I start it at my end. The quality is relatively good – a couple of my friends had it on a big screen TV last time!

You’ll have the ability to type comments to me during the show, and I will be interacting with you, reading your comments between songs and talking to respond – it’d take too long for me to type replies. πŸ™‚ I won’t be able to see you, but we’ll be having a conversation.

After the show, we can move the conversation to my Facebook page or some such, but they let us continue to chat there for a while after the end of the show – they did last time.

Note: I’ve had issues using Firefox with the StageIt software. Consider using IE or Safari. If your screen freezes or crashes, reload your browser and the concert URL.

Thank for reading all this, and I hope to “see” you at my show on the 27th!

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If I were Jimmy Buffett

It’s funny…I was originally thinking that I’d be writing some travelogue-style posts about my Keys “working vacation.” And I might still do that. However, in the process of taking some down time tonight, away from the hustle and bustle of Duval Street and the Casa Marina, I started pondering something very different.

For those who are just tuning in and haven’t been following the whole thing on Facebook, I’m at the Meeting of the Minds in Key West – an annual convention/festival/party for Parrotheads. It’s the twentieth annual such event, and the ninth that it’s been my privilege to attend. Hopefully I’ll also have some reflections later on how my participation here as a musician has evolved over the years, but that’s also a topic for another time.

The perennial rumor is that “Buffett’s going to be here.” We hear it every year. Generally, the expected time is one show or another featuring many of the Coral Reefers, members of his band. The last time he actually *did* show up was in 2004. It was a memorable year for me, for multiple reasons. The Buffett show at the Casa during a Peter Mayer concert was one of those reasons.

This year, there has been a last-minute scheduling shift on Friday afternoon for the Street Fest on Duval right outside the Margaritaville. The new schedule lists Mac MacAnally and a “Surprise Guest” to do a show around Mac’s new album. Several other major programming items were timeshifted to make room for this. So if Jimmy’s going to show up this year, this makes sense as one possible time. Then again, Mac knows everyone in Nashville, so we could get anyone from Zac Brown to Kenny Chesney.

And on Saturday, all of the Coral Reefers – except Ralph Macdonald, who’s had some health issues – will be doing a show at the Casa. It’s another possible time for Jimmy to show.

Personally, I think he could show at one, both, or neither. But if *I* were Jimmy, let me tell you what *I’d* do:

I *might* show up at both. It’d be a zoo, but the Key West PD and con security could probably handle it. But where I *would* show up would be the Trop Rock Music Awards on Friday night. I’d show up to encourage all of the new artists doing their (okay, our) best to create new stuff based on the inspiration of Mr. Buffett and others. I would at least stop by, give a short talk and present an award or two, and maybe arrange to meet all the award nominees personally, just to give them some encouragement from the Head Parrot. I’d do it just because it’s the right thing to do, and because other than paying some extra money for security – which I, as Mr. Buffett, would certainly have in my other pair of pants – what would it really cost me? A day away from fishing and flying?

As the TRMAs aren’t that heavily-attended, he could attend without being horribly mobbed, at least initially. And as the word spread across the island, it would bring more people to the TRMAs, which would be worthy.

(Note: Despite much effort on my part and a great song originally in contention, I’m not an award nominee, and wouldn’t get to meet Jimmy as part of this. I still think it’d be a good idea.)

Don’t get me wrong. Jimmy doesn’t “owe” us anything. He’s produced some great music, which we’ve taken as inspiration to do other great music. He’s helped instigate some good community service among the Parrothead Nation. That’s all he has had to do, and he’s been compensated for that. He doesn’t have to do anything more.

But it would sure be a kick if he *did*.

I’m just sayin’.

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My MOTM 2011 Schedule

On the road to Key West:

  • Sun 10/30, 3-9 PM: Freaky Tiki Party, Ft. Myers – with Jimi Pappas, John Friday, Tiki Thom, others
  • Mon 10/31 – Tues 11/1 (all day): Pit Stop Party, MM101, Key Largo – with Captain Josh and a cast of many as they pass through

In Key West:

  • Wed 11/2, 4 PM: BeachFront Radio β€œWelcome to Key West” Party – Southernmost at the Beach. Part of a full lineup of Trop Rockers.
  • Friday between 11 AM-2 PM: Jimi Pappas & Friends, Green World Gallery
  • Sat 11/5, 1-2 PM: Green World Gallery, 712B Duval St. – Solo show

Other possible appearances:

  • Thursday between 2-5: Kelly McGuire’s songwriter showcase, Lighthouse Ct.
  • Thursday between 12-4: Chris Sachs & Friends, Captain Tony’s

Are you having a party in Key West during MOTM? Want some music? Call me – 510-821-1812. Have guitar, will bring fun.

I’ll be appearing in other places, both with and without my guitar. To find out where I am in realtime & hear about some of the cool stuff happening during MOTM: Follow @lorendavidson on Twitter.

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