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Martin Swinger: PROGRAMS

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The Moon did not appear in the sky one day, and my newest album, M O O N, has not come into being in a day.

     The project began over two years ago at Frog Hollow Studio in Brunswick, Maine with longtime friend and engineer, Jud Caswell. We began by choosing a set of songs, then recording and building tracks one at a time for over a year when I had the time and money. We focused on getting each layer perfect before moving on. Through the process at Frog Hollow, songs evolved, drastically or subtly in performance and vocal approach, lyrics, tempo and key, some songs rejected and other were added.  While the finished album will only use a couple of the original tracks recorded there, the process of recording, listening, re-writing, re-evaluating and re-recording was invaluable to the development of the album as you will hear it.

      I had not even decided on a name for the album but sensed there was something about circadian rhythm involved in the collection. It was about a cycle, a circle, Solstice and Equinox, a process of change, the Wheel of Fortune.  Songs about the starkness of winter, the celebration of love and music, the loss of family and realization of innocence, the 'truth-is-stranger-than-fiction' process of the natural world, the discovery and letting go of self, lessons learned and questions unanswered. 

     At the same time I was recording with Jud, I had some incidental recording projects on my plate and in the interest of expediency, recorded them with Ed Desjardins at Lakeside Studio which was closer to home and available at a more convenient time. While recording with Jud was a concentrated and focused left-brain process, recording with Ed was relaxed, creative and low key. There was no conflict between them, just a different approach to the recording process. I slowly became aware how that slight difference of approach had a huge effect on what I heard from my recordings. I am a 'live' performer: my performance is fueled and informed by interaction and energy from the audience. At Frog Hollow, Jud and I concentrated on engaging our critical ears to make a 'perfect' recording, but at Lakeside Studio I found myself delivering an emotional performance to Ed, who responded as both engineer and audience, offering feedback, encouragement, suggestions and enthusiasm. The difference was tangible and I knew I had to go with Lakeside to capture the emotional nature of the songs I write. These songs are not about being perfect, they are about being honest.

    In Fall of 2010 I began the recording process over again at Lakeside Studio and this time the songs seemed to take on a flow of their own, blossoming, seemingly growing of their own free will (with Ed's nudging!). The collection of songs began to gel and at some point I realized to my surprise that the word 'moon' and its many meanings appeared repeatedly in my lyrics. I thought about the phases of the moon and how sometimes she is so full and bright she commands the sky and blinds us to the stars while at other times she is cloaked behind clouds or cloistered far away hiding behind the shadow of the world. THIS was the image that tied the collection together, that universal, ever changing, unavoidable object looking out over the natural world. The Moon, so far away and yet so palpable as to push and pull the tides of the ocean, inspire the imagination and even transform the human heart.   

     The MOON began to rise in my sky and she continues her arc as I finish up the recording and mixing process and soon move to the next phase of clarification through mastering and finally pull the artwork and physical product together. 

    Please stay tuned and keep your eye on the night sky!

M O O N: The Recording Process - Martin's NEW CD!

Martin Swingers 5th and latest CD release, MOON, brings together a full cycle of some of his oldest and newest compositions in an ambitious collection of 15 original songs. Martin revisits personal history with Jamie’s Song, Home to You, Moth Song and Something Like Goodbye  - songs whose timelessness and poetic appeal have kept them vital and worthy of  this new recording.

 

More recent songs; Little Plastic Part, Coney Island Lullaby, Betty Boop & Buddha, which have won accolades from fellow songwriters across the country, along with My Old Shoe, Stay With Me and Gravity reflect Martin’s openness to a surprisingly eclectic field of subject matter.

 

Martin celebrates his love of literature with Consider the Oyster, based on an essay by the late food writer, MFK Fisher which features an inspired performance by the Portland, Maine based Klezmer band, Casco Bay Tummlers.  He respectfully reflects on the life of a young man with autism in the song Wooden Boy, based on amazing essays by a friend and facilitated communications prodigy, Gene Marcus. (A portion of MOON’s proceeds will be donated to the study of Autism and facilitated communication. Look up Institute for Communication and Inclusion:
http://soe.syr.edu/centers_institutes/institute_communication_inclusion/default.aspx online.)

 

Martin sings intimate observations of caring for his aging parents with Watching You Sleep and Man on the Moon and the album finally brings full circle the universal celebration of the music of life with his harmonically rich choral anthem, Music in the Rafters.

 

Martin’s beautiful and expressive voice shines through lush and insightful arrangements featuring a host of talented guest musicians including, but not limited to; Steve Muise on fiddle, Phil Carlsen on cello, Ed Desjardins on bass and steel guitar, Alfred Lund on percussion, Bob Colwell on accordion and clarinet and the lovely vocals of a cappella ensembles ImproVox and Referendum (together known as Hot Buttah!) and a SPECIAL GUEST APPEARANCE of JEFF PEVAR. The CD is produced by Ed Desjardins at the Garden Studio, with recording help from Jud Caswell at Frog Hollow Studio and Bob Colwell at The Root Cellar. As an added treat, Martin’s therapeutic avocation for watercolor provides a beautifully visual cover for this stunning collection of songs.

 

MOON is a tastefully diverse album whose songs cycle through phases from thoughtful and contemplative, to profoundly honest and outrageously funny once again proving that Martin Swinger sings Songs Worth Listening To. 

Martin Swinger - M O O N CD (Mar 22, 2011)