KUAR Listening Party: Daniel Black, Arkansas Author

M and I recorded for the KUAR Arts and Letters – Arkansas Authors featuring Daniel Black show called “Daniel Black, Arkansas Author.” We worked on instrumental versions of The Boy with the Broom and Campfire Song.

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Once everything was sent and mixed, we went to a small listening party with some of the people that worked on the show. M and I brought homemade caramel corn and hot chocolate with marshmallows. It was so much fun!

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You can listen to “Daniel Black, Arkansas Author” on KUAR Arts and Letters. The songs are on The Damsels in DistressSongs for KUAR Arts and Letters (2014)” album.

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The Bus-y-ness of Art

“I’m busy.” There, I said it. You are probably busy too. What kind of busy is  a better question. Too busy busy? Too tired busy? You may not even know what year it is busy or pretending it is still last weekend busy.

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Wherever you are on the busy scale, there is still time…

I have been busy lately. Busy at work and with house chores, with organization and family relationships, busy with pet maintenance and meal planning, busy with fixing all of the many broken things in my house and car and life! I am also busy with my art and music projects amidst the busyness. What’s that you say? I am actually working on art and music projects while being “life busy” busy?! Yes I am! The deal is, that I just keep the art and music projects on my giant to-do list. And I do mean GIANT – it’s like never ending in my mind…

The bus-y-ness or business of art is that it just keeps going. You keep making it, keep generating ideas and writing them down, keep on keeping on – whether calm or not.

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My friend S recently said he can only paint when he feels secure. He hasn’t painted in almost 7 years. My advice was to just pull out a sketch book and draw something. Not a finished masterpiece something, just his foot or something. It’s never going to be the perfect time to make a painting or write a song. Even retired people don’t get to really retire anymore. So there is never going to be time. Add it to your to-do list, and I guarantee sketching your foot is going to look a lot better than scrubbing the bathtub on a Saturday afternoon. So, I must show that I practice what I preach, so you won’t roll your eyes while hating me.

I will share with you projects I am working on this week – these projects come after work, carpooling, dinner, and daily chores.

Romania paintings

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I have been working in my art studio on the Romania painting series for Livada orphan sponsorship. This one has been difficult to get through – emotionally. Though it feels amazing to be able to be what I think could be called an artist missionary, there has also been a lot of internal pressure on myself to make these paintings excellent. Also, I don’t know how much money they will raise for child sponsorship, and that makes me feel like “will this make a difference for the Livada orphans?” I am most likely over thinking it and psyching myself out – just need to paint!

The Last Baby Angel set design

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Then there is the set design for the Last Baby Angel play based on the novel “The Last Baby Angel” by Sam Brown. It’s the first time I have ever done set design, and am still working on the research phase. I was able to call someone in the social work field this week and they were helpful and described some details of what an addicts home looks like.

Banjo Practice

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Playing music is just something I have to keep doing. if you don’t use it, you lose it. I try to practice my banjo rolls and songs every day – whether for 15 minutes or an hour. I take one banjo lesson per week with the amazing Bill Nesbitt (who currently plays with the Clark Family Trio).

KUAR Arts & Letters

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M and I are working on recording songs for the KUAR Arts & Letters Arkansas Authors show to be recorded in early October. We are also in the process of writing a Valentines Day song for the KUAR Arts & Letters Valentines Day show (The Damsels in Distress interview) to be aired in February. The cool thing about this is that I have someone to work with (motivation) to complete the projects!

So, I know you are “life busy” too, but what can you add to your giant to-do list to make space to continue functioning as a creative person?

 

 

 

KUAR Recording Studio

The Damsels in Distress were asked to record at the KUAR studio for a music performance and interview for KUAR Arts & Letters Valentines Day show.

We arrived at the KUAR recording studio and were met by Brad Minnick, Mary Ellen, and Chris Hickey. We followed Chris Hickey down the long hallways and maze of KUAR to get to the recording room.

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Once in the recording room, we settled in, played some songs, and answered some questions. Interviewing is a lot of fun. Brad had some really great questions. M was better at answering what specific songs were about, and I was better at answering the history and organization of the Damsels.

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It took us a couple of takes to play the songs without any mistakes. And I just couldn’t get a good whistle!


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We had lots of fun during the interview and there was much laughing taking place. The neat and weird thing about giving an interview was summing up 8 years of our work and life in a couple of sentences.

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We will write a Valentines Day song and go back to the KUAR studio for a follow up interview. The show will be released for a Valentines Day special.

Thanks Mary Ellen for taking pictures and videos of the recording session!

The KUAR Arts and Letters Fundraiser Showcase

The Damsels in Distress were asked to open as a part of a showcase for the KUAR Arts and Letters Fundraiser at Dugan’s Pub in downtown Little Rock last Sunday.

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We played with bands Heather Smith, Odyssey, and The Cons of Formant.

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The Cons of Formant

We wanted to especially thank the Cons of Formant because they brought their own PA, which they let everyone use, they helped us set up our gear, and ran the sound for us. They also used to be our neighbors. Seeing them again brought back the nostalgic “summer nights” memory of sitting on our back deck listening to them play music in their own backyard with their friends singing along.

There was a great turn out and everyone supported the fundraising part as well as the bands. We even had a special guest star appearance by writer Sam Brown, author of “The Last Baby Angel.” Below is a video of Sam Brown reading an excerpt of “The Last Baby Angel” while The Cons of Formant play accompanying music.

The Set List:
Underwater
Picnic
I Don’t Drive
Arkansas
Neutron Rising
French Song
Rare Red Rainbow
D & D
Gailey’s
Mr. and Mrs.
Namesake
Twinkle Twinkle Emo

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We often change instruments for each of our songs. Changing instruments can take a minute or two, which ends up being a long time when multiplied by 10 songs – especially in a 35 minute time slot. We ordered our set list so that one person was able to go directly into the next song while the other changed instruments. When we timed the set during practice, it was 34 minutes. At the beginning of the show, we were having some sound issues, so it was cut short, and “Mr. and Mrs.” ended up being our closing song.

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Writing, Recording, and Performance
In terms of writing, recording, and performing, the performance is the most difficult for us. Imagine being in front of a room full of people (and if the room is full of people then wow – that is good). They are all talking, eating, and drinking. Maybe only 10 of the people in the room are actually there to see you perform – these are your wonderful, supportive “fans.” As a performer, your goal is to entertain in a way that is non-threatening, confident, and creates a seamless transition from the crowd having a good time with their friends to having a great time listening to the band with their friends. The best possible scenario is that this would happen while making more “fans” with the actual music.

Honestly, the art of performance is a very big part of a band, and it is just not one of our strengths at this point. However, I do think we collected 3 or 4 new fans!

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Thank you everyone who came to the show and for your support for the KUAR Arts and Letters radio program. We also wanted to give a special thank you to Dr. J. Bradley Minnick and his wonderful wife Mary Ellen for including us in all of their “taking over the world through the arts” schemes!

Thank you John and Janet with JJ Paquette Photography for coming out and taking pictures of our band!

Father’s Day Music

KUAR Arts & Letters aired a special Father’s Day show called “In Search of Lost Fathers.

The Damsels in Distress composed much of the music in this episode.

We wanted to write something that evoked a feeling of loss and sadness, but also of hope and reclamation. We wrote “My Namesake” – which was the theme – while writing for this show. Both Micah and I were raised by loving and supportive fathers, so we had to place ourselves outside of our own experience and imagine what it would be to not know our fathers.

My Namesake

Where is my father, the one who was to raise me?
Now I’m all alone. Now, I’m on my own.
He was to keep me and name me for his family.
Father’s name. Family name. Where is my namesake?

Below are images of  the Damsels in Distress writing and recording.

  

 
 

Listen to KUAR Arts & Letters “In Search of Lost Fathers” show here.