Nervousness

Tonight I played at a house party.  It was awesome.  The hosts were cordial, and the attendees were wonderfully-supportive.  There were all sorts of other bands there.  As such, the between show chatter surrounded band-related stuff with a healthy dose of cover-band hatin’.  Thank you!  It was refreshing to have those conversations.  I felt at home with those people.

For my set, I blasted through many of the songs from Faraway Farm and ended with Kirsten Dunst, per Tony’s request.

I noticed that I wasn’t really nervous at all, and I don’t know why.  10 years ago, I would have been shitting bricks at the thought of standing in front of a bunch of people in a basement playing my own music.  I also warmed up in front of the neighbors from my back porch before leaving and didn’t feel nervous about that either. Maybe it’s confidence; maybe it’s a sense of a bigger world.  Honestly, I kind of miss feeling nervous before shows.

Con El Sol – The Speakeasy Heroes

The Speakeasy Heroes were the predecessor to my Minneapolis outfits.  If we could travel back in time to the year 2000, we would see a young grunge outfit transforming into something special.  We were greater than the sum of our parts.  I have not quite been able to capture and release the magic of that band since.  On the whole, the music I am writing today is vastly superior to the music I was writing back then, but sometimes a good band trumps good music.

We were able to reunite for the first time in 12 years and performed a couple of songs at my wedding.  Here is a clip of us playing Nate Cryns’s Con El Sol.

We released an LP that summer, complete with songs written and recorded that summer.  Pretty neat!  Ask nicely, and I might send you a copy.

Plugging

“Just keep plugging.”  That’s what I keep telling myself.

It was a grind on Saturday, but I am so pumped about what I am working on.

In the past, I have posted everything as I have recorded it.  This time I am taking inspiration from Charlie Van Stee‘s and LETRON‘s respective forthcoming albums in that I am keeping a tight lid on things.  I did share a recording with my bass player and collaborator, but no response…go figure.  Haha!

It was neat to hear LETRON’s Heels recently.  I had no idea what she was working on all the last year, but I knew she was working.  It was awesome to be surprised by the inventiveness of the recording in its polished format.

The Grind of Writing and Recording

Writing and recording music is one of those things, like reading an academic article or raising a child, that provides very few tangible benefits in the moment.  But the outcomes can be wonderful and romantic.

So it is that I have been writing all day, grinding out notes and lyrics and melodies and chords in the hopes that by dinnertime I will have something to record.  I do.

I am trying some things I have never tried before.  Wish me luck as I dive deep into it this evening.

My Goals With This Website

Cryns.com is a mess right now.  It lacks focus.  Sure there is all sorts of great content on the site, but so what?  I need to focus.

So, I am going to restart this engine.  It will start focused and stay focused.  My focus will be doing what I do best – telling stories through music.  Songwriting drives this machine.

All of the old website content that you have come to love will be accessible on this site via search, but the main navigation will be disappearing.  In its place will be a recent account of the next Cryns #3 adventure.

I have found that truly personal successes in life are few and far between.  Herds rule this Earth of ours.  They are the driving force for almost everything around us.  Herds are responsible for great structures and horrible wars.  Herds create things, but rarely can individuals rightly take credit for the things herds create.

Writing and recording music is my escape from the herd.  My escape from this horrifyingly simple and unstoppable momentum.  It is an opportunity to be responsible for something.  It is my creation.

We are starting an adventure right here and now.

Are you with me?

Halloween 2011 Photos

We are on Spotify!

To answer your question…  Yes, we are on Spotify!  Both Cryns #3 records are rocking, Faraway Farm is currently blaring in my stereo.  Rock on, Lucy!

Now only if The Fullerenes would get on board…

Randy Napoleon Secret Show Today!

For the last week or so, I have been planning a secret show starring nationally-reknowned jazz guitarist, Randy Napoleon.  The invitations have already gone out, however I know that some of the invitations disappeared into the internets.  If you are reading this and would like to attend, call me on my cell, and I will send you an invitation.

Awesomeness Possibly Coming to a House Near You!

I have a show in the works that, if it happens, will be totally awesome.  It will take place in the Friendly Confines of my house and will feature a totally rocking jazz guitarist.  Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 12.  It will be invite-only due to space restrictions, so be sure to hit me up if you are interested in attending.

I will be opening up the show with some piano stylings in the vein of Cryns #3.

Miladic Video Directed by Fifi 3PO

I just watched the new Miladic video.  Wow!

It was directed by the master of fancy names, Fifi 3PO, who also directed Run. Run! Run!!! RUN!!! RUNNNN!!!!

What inspires you?

An energy flows from my upper stomach and into my eyes and exits through my armhairs when I listen to “Every New Day” by Five Iron Frenzy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFIMOJ46ofk

Five Iron Frenzy is a now-defunct Christian ska band from the 1990′s.  They were among the biggest bands on the Christian touring circuit for a while in the mid-1990′s, at the height of the short-lived pop-ska scene (remember Squirrel Nut Zippers?).  They were also one of the best bands of that decade.

They had 2 1/2 good albums followed by a bunch of crap, which is as good as we can hope for most of the time.

“Every New Day” is something of a rock-infused ballad.  It is up-beat and heart-felt at the same time.  It is genuine and caring.

While the lyrics were written in deference to the Big Man in the Clouds, I think a lot about Lisa when I hear it today.  It is about how someone can make someone else feel like every day is fresh, beautiful, and exciting.

One time back in 2001, I was waiting in line at a Dairy Queen with a former girlfriend.  We were fighting about something that was probably not worth fighting over when I saw a mentally challenged girl a few spots up order a chocolate fudge ice-cream sundae.  When I saw how happy the girl order became when the sundae hit her hands, I immediately lost all reason to argue.

Here I was with someone that I cared about, enjoying a summer day at a DQ, waiting for ice cream, and fighting about something dumb.  The fickleness of human interactions was visible, and I became instantly ashamed.

The girl with the sundae was beautiful, and we were raining on her parade….or maybe she was shining a ray of sunshine on ours.

There are people among us who are rays of light.  There are those of us that suck up sunlight, and there are those that radiate it.

There are great and wonderful things happening in this world all around us all the time. Sometimes it helps to be reminded of that.

1% of the Time

Lisa has a hard time at my shows.  Last night we had a talk about this.

The songs I sing are not well-rounded pictures of situations.  They are photographs of moments in time blown out to 2-5 minutes.  None of my songs give people a well-rounded concept about anything.  They are emotional and reactive and beautiful snapshots.

Unfortunately, when I sing about a snapshot in time that I experienced with another person many years ago, it is easy for people to get the idea that those snapshots represent the whole of relationships.  This is not the case.

When I sing about people who hold or have formerly held prominent roles in my life, it does not do justice to the complexity of those relationships.

Since Lisa and I rarely talk about past relationships, those 2-5 minute songs are all she has to work from.  It makes sense that she might increase the magnifying glass and turn them into her reality of those relationships, filling in all gaps with the contents of my songs.  But the fact is most of my relationships are scarily ordinary.  I regularly experience and have experienced moments of brilliance with friends, current and past.  But for the most part, nothing exceptional happens 99% of the time.

My music is the audio representation of 1% of my exceptional waking hours.

So, while 1% of the time I spent with former girlfriends and friends was exceptional, 99% of it was pretty unexceptional.

I would argue that 2-5% of my time with Lisa is exceptional, which is pretty exciting stuff for me!  The fact that I have only a handful of songs that reference Lisa and our experiences together is merely a factor of time and my lack of recent musical production.  Rest assured, they are coming.

I have songs in the works about cats, marriage, love, and family that Lisa has played a significant role in crafting.  Unfortunately, until they are finalized, my band will continue playing songs from past albums.  I love them and will probably always love them, but it is time to move on.

Over the past year or so, you have probably noticed that my band has been focusing on our more abstract songs and less on songs that call out former girlfriends directly.  This is a result of me attempting to bring Lisa into the fold.  I would do more if I could, but we are working from relatively finite resources here – 2 LPs + a number of odds and ends.  We are also continually rounding out our collection of songs that we cover, the expansion of which is partially owing to my desire to bring Lisa closer to the Cryns #3 community.

I will continue to talk with Lisa about things I can do to make my music more accessible to her.  I desperately want her to sing along with the rest of you, even though she is shy about singing out loud.  I know she’s got a beautiful singing voice buried underneath that shyness.

Crowd-Funding

I have always wondered what it would be like to have investors – folks who believe in me and my music so much that they would front me money for my next project.  Basically, a record label.

What if I had people demanding that I get in the studio to record, demanding that I make a music video.  And what if I was on the hook financially for those outcomes?

Would it produce better, quicker results?

I think so.

There is a newish thing happening on the indie music scene.  It is called “crowd-funding” or “fan-funding”.

The idea is that I get a bunch of friends and fans and family to invest money in my next project.  In return they get something based on the amount they give – i.e. a cd, a hug, a drawing, a song named after them, a party, etc.  It is like quid pro quo, except there is an element of awesomeness to it.

In addition to getting fabulous prizes, investors have a real impact on my production.

What do you think?

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Music to Swear By Preview #8 – Mason Jennings' "Nothing"

Head on over to Music to Swear By to listen to this weeks’ podcast featuring Ryan, John, and me.  Over the course of the podcast we talk about our experiences playing in this band.  I learned a lot about Ryan and John – things they never told me about life, love, the universe.

Like yesterday, I will be unable to post this beautifully-haunting rendition of Mason Jennings’ “Nothing” on account of the stupid laws of this fair land we call, “home”.

Thankfully, YouTube has a deal with the big music publishing companies that allows me to post videos of Mason Jennings’ “Nothing”.  Here is one such recording from May 2008.  Email me if you want to hear the new recording.

Music to Swear By Preview #7 – "I Bombed Korea"

Unfortunately, arcane publishing rules that plague our creative community make publishing this recording a legal liability.  So, if you really want to hear me play Cake’s “I Bombed Korea”, you will have to email me.  Sorry about that.  Stupid Congress.  Stupid media conglomerates (Disney, I’m looking at you…).

BUUUUT, you can listen to me play the song on YouTube (recorded in January 2009).

Music to Swear By Preview #6 – "Let's get funky!"

This song, as you know, is about a song.  The title of both songs is, “Let’s get funky!”.

A few days ago, I stumbled across an old recording of the original song from 1997.  While it has lost the rich horns and Bob’s voice that accompanied the original recording, I am pleased to say that today’s recording has lost none of the luster that made the original a success.

This song and more will be featured in next Wednesday’s Music to Swear By podcast.

Music to Swear By Preview #5 – "Monster"

“Monster” is mostly written by my sister, Liana, who is the most beautiful, charismatic, and wonderful human being on the planet.  Listen to my band play it in Music to Swear By host, Tony’s, basement.

And tune in to the Music to Swear By podcast featuring Cryns #3 next Wednesday!

Music to Swear By Preview #4 – "Run. Run! Run!!! RUN!!! RUNNNNN!!!!!"

RunnNNnnNNN!!!  Here is a solo rendition of our hit music video’s soundtrack, as recorded for the Music to Swear By podcast.

Check out the podcast next Wednesday!  In fact, check out other Music to Swear By podcasts right now!  It truly is an entertaining listen!

Music to Swear By Preview #3 – "Tonight was a wonderful night!"

Check out this fabulous rendition of Cryns #3′s “Tonight was a wonderful night!”, performed by Cryns #3 on the Music to Swear By podcast!

The full podcast will air next Wednesday.

Music to Swear By Preview #2 – Duluth

In this recording from our session at the Music to Swear By podcast, the band plays, “Duluth”.  Enjoy!

The full podcast will air next Wednesday.