I’m Ready!

So it has been about a year since the album was released and quite a year it has been.  It is time however, for something new and something fresh.  Though the making of Walk In My Shoes was truly amazing, it is time for a new venture.  Time to drag out the old and shine up the new.  And what does this all mean?  Why, a new song of course!

When recording the album, I brought in a number of different musicians for the instruments.  But after the Alyce Hart band got together and played shows the songs took on a slightly different influence.  They became our songs, not just Alyce Hart’s songs.  I continue to write songs and add them to our play list, and those too have a new creative influence.  I know it is time to get out new material and show everyone what the new Alyce Hart sounds like.

And so the adventure will continue!  Stay tuned for updates, experiences and documentaries.  They will be plentiful.

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Music Is.

Music is my sanity. 

Even though I have a full time life, I will always find time for music.  Happy, sad or indifferent expressing myself through music has allowed me a form of release that few will understand.  Busy days overlap with even busier nights but here and there I jot down song lyrics or record melody lines I hear in my head.  Lately these tiny notes have proven useful as pieces of some new amazing songs.  I noticed that each little note I go back to has its own unique feeling and it leads me to create a whole story.  I also realized that sometimes recording or singing that line makes me feel real, validates my feelings, and keeps me sane.

Music is my freedom.

There are times you want to tell someone something but you just can’t find the words.  Or sometimes you find the words but instead you can’t find the courage to let them leave your lips.  As a person who feels deeply, loves hard and hides emotion, music is my doorway to freedom.  I write down all of my feelings as a jumbled mess onto a piece of scrap paper just as they appear in my head.  I then carefully construct the disaster into beautifully organized poetry or metaphorical pieces and give it away for others to share with me.  Knowing that the songs I write can also touch other people because they have been through something similar, reminds me I’m not alone and helps me to be free.

Music is my joy.

After completing a song there is that tiny glint of fear before showing it to someone else.  Self doubt sets in and you hope you made enough tweaks to make it at least bearable.  Then you see a smile spread across that someone’s face as they listen and the feeling you get inside is unlike any other.  You laid out all of your thoughts and put together some chords and they like it?  And even if they didn’t, I’d still be the happiest person in the world because they trusted me enough to sit and listen and give me a shot.  Not only that, but those feelings in that song are no longer hidden and someone else is hanging on to them for me.  Making music is exciting and always brings me joy.

Music is my peace.

Music is my confidence.

Music is my happiness.

Music is my motivation.

Music is my smile.

Music is my life.

Music is me.

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Album. Album? ALBUM!

As the album gets closer to touching my hands, I thought it important to share the juicy details of the home stretch.  After all of the parts were recorded for all of the songs, it felt like I was watching the movie Fantasia over and over and over again.  Time passed as I zoned out.  It was like an excitement build to get everything done and then I hit a plateau.  Outside of playing the occasional gig and skirting questions about a release date, I realized the album was out of my hands.  I had very little control for a few weeks.  It drove me crazy!  And then…

It all picked up again.  I still can’t believe how amazing the songs turned out.  I mean, I liked them before, but now I can hardly lift my jaw from the pavement as I listen.  The mixes came to me for approval before mastering and I was very happy with what I heard.  It is like one giant puzzle with every piece of every song finally put into place.  It is funny how each time you listen to a song, you hear something else you didn’t pick up on before [sometimes good, sometimes not so good].  After requesting changes here and there, it was time to send them to mastering and for me to get some album art.

I am fortunate to have a few friends that I can turn to for help.  I went to numerous photo shoots because I wasn’t getting what I wanted.  Finally, with tears in my eyes from the frustration, I sent what I had to my friend Terrell and requested some help.  All I needed was one or two really great pictures that captured the album, “Walk In My Shoes.”   Of course what Terrell shot back saved the day and all was right in the world again.  

So with masters on their way and album art done, I decided on using a local media printer.  I have never been happier.  Sooper Dooper, based out of Madison, WI, had a great staff and great prices.  They were helpful and responsive.  For someone who was about to jump from the cliff this was a huge relief.  Plus, the songs were being mastered in Madison so this made delivery of the files much easier.  Everything was provided to them on Monday, and as I write this I am getting confirmation that they will be putting the albums in my hand… tomorrow.  As in, driving them down from Madison, to Milwaukee, and giving them to me. 

As I write this i can’t help but smile.  I am excited.  I am exhausted.  I am ecstatic.  I am shocked.  I feel amazing!  After all these months of work, time, commitment, and fun I am going to have an album in my hand.  A real one… that people can pop in their car and add to their iPod.  I get to share my songs, my music, my words, my thoughts, and my heart with you.  Surreal. 

So… don’t go far!  It close!  So close!

Alyce

xoxo

 

Alyce the Tease

The anticipation of the album is killing me, but I will at least be able to share with you a little ditty to give you a taste of what’s to come.  A teaser track!  The writing and recording process have closed and the mixing is nearing the finish line, but my work is just beginning.  It is almost time to hit the pavement, tackle the web, and share my album.  But since I can’t wait any longer to share at least something with everyone, I am going to leak a track!  Right now!  🙂

I’m Leavin’ is the first collaboration I worked on with Tony Schueller, my producer and songwriting partner.  With guitar by Tony and the bass stylings of Matty Jay, the song has grown since that first night in the studio.  I have recently listened to the original compilations and I cannot believe the differences.  I’m Leavin’ is a song about love, heartache, and retribution.    

Go find it now!! 
https://soundcloud.com/alycehart/alyce-hart

Album Sundae

As my time in the studio is quickly coming to a close, I am recalling my last few recording sessions and just how awesome they were. After the main drums, bass, guitar, and vox, we added the whipped cream, sprinkles and cherry to my album sundae: percussion, keys, and backing vox.

My whipped cream:  I was struggling with listening to the songs but I just couldn’t put my finger on what was missing. Then Drew walked in the door and it was obvious what Alyce Hart needed. PERCUSSION! Who knew how much impact a little tambourine, hand drums, djembe, and cow bell could have? Everything fell together and I exclaimed, “Yes! This is it!” My scowl disappeared and a smile spread across my face. The tasteful percussion brought me back to when I first sat down to write the songs with an acoustic guitar and a djembe. What was missing the whole time from the songs was that truly organic sound and it made me very happy to hear that again.

The sprinkles;  Next, a talented Mr. Joe Hite came in the studio and laid down some Hammond and piano. I actually grew up playing the organ so I have quite a soft spot for this sound. I had a Kimball Temptation Entertainer. Anything I ever played was self taught. I had two whole music books: New Kids on the Block and Best of the 90s Easy Piano. I may have rocked to Baby, Baby and Please Don’t Go Girl one too many times. I was overly excited as Joe unleashed these beloved sounds of my childhood onto the songs. The Hammond filled out the tracks and gave each one a special touch. I thought the already recorded layers of musical goodness couldn’t get any better… and then BAM! I was again pleasantly surprised at the results.

My cherry:  Shy Annie + Alyce Hart = Bad ass vox. Being a vocalist, I appreciate multiple harmonies and voices. With an impressive ear for 3rds, 5ths and everything in between, I knew dynamically the songs would benefit from having Shy Annie sing a ditty or two. The choruses became more epic and the melodies more interesting. I think back to the first time Annie and I sang together… We must have really worked it out on That Boy is Mine during karaoke 4 years ago, because together we have a great sound.

With all of the parts recorded now comes the mixing. I am truly blessed to have all of these amazing musicians on the album and I cannot wait to hear the final product. Drew, Joe, and Annie: You three are amazeballs.

In the final stretch people! Stay in touch through facebook, twitter, and visit the website for the most recent updates!!!

xoxo

Alyce

 

Dirty Little Secret

I’ve never mentioned this before, but I have a dirty little secret:  my favorite instrument is the bass guitar.  I think that the bass player is often overlooked and many people don’t truly understand the crucial role a bass player has.  Though the bass player job is not glamorous by any means, they are the anchor that holds down both the rhythm section and drives the melody of the song.  I am happy and proud to say the bass on the album has been completed and I am beyond thrilled with the results (not to mention grateful, stunned, happy, excited, inspired, euphoric, and thankful).

Studio experience for recording bass was far too easy!  It makes a huge difference when your bass player comes in and knows exactly what they want to play but is also willing to make a few changes here and there.  You say, “play something funky reggae with some bluesy pop country.”  Bass player says, “You got it.”  These requests go into their very sophisticated machinehead, and out pops a groovy bass line that fits just right.  I sit in awe and wipe the drool from the corner of my mouth because it is nearly impossible that exactly what was in my head, is now tracked and ready to go.  Like I said, far too easy.

I decided to outline some of my very tip top favorite bass lines of all time…  I am not sure how to narrow it down.  Since I love all bass players and find them all extremely awesome, this has been difficult.  Maybe top 5?  Oh, so hard.

5.  My Generation, The Who (John Entwistle):  I was never really a die hard Who fan, but always appreciated the musicianship of the  members.  Entwistle and Townshend were ridiculous[ly awesome].

4.  Aeroplane, RHCP (Flea):  Oh, my main man Flea.  Goodness how you and this song make me smile.

3.  Money, Pink Floyd (Roger Waters):   My dad used to listen to this song and I really only used to appreciate the cash register sounds.  That has changed a little bit.

2.  YYZ, Rush (Geddy Lee):  You have to give credit where credit is due.  Wicked.

1.  Hysteria, Muse (Chris Wolstenholme):  Synth-bass at its finest.  I love the bass and the band.

Now, there are so many more that are not named…  Got to give love to Paul McCartney (how do you choose just one really), John Paul Jones, and Justin Chancellor.  These are just a few of may faves and I would love to hear what some of yours are!  Feel free to share this blog and let’s have a battle for the best player of all time!

Back to the Alyce Hart album…  I am so pleased to be done with yet another step in this process. 

And to Matty Jay, my bass player (and the one doing all the amazing things listed above), you rock. 

Alyce  

 xoxo