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Galen Kipar Project at the 2010 FloydFest!

Check out this great review of the Galen Kipar Project’s new release, The Scenic Route in Bold Life. GKP is playing in Asheville This Thursday, August 12th,  at the Grey Eagle in Asheville with the Stereofidelics.

Musical Melting Pot

BY ROBIN TOLLESON in Bold Life

The Galen Kipar Project’s blend of original folk and Americana has been dubbed “experimental” by some music scribes. But it’s really more “old school” roots, like “really old school.”

Galen Kipar fuses his soulfully sung melodies and blues threads with structure ideas he learned studying Debussy’s playbook. Kipar composes with his scope open wide, and has produced four albums in the last five years, including 2008’s acclaimed Paper Sailor, and, just-released, The Scenic Route.

find out more about Galen’s musical background

Kipar started playing music when he was 14, after finding his mother’s classical guitar in a closet. “A friend of mine had just gotten a guitar, and he was learning chords,” he says. “So I started learning chords, and soon we started trying to play songs.”

Now 33, Kipar was a self-taught musician until enrolling at Brevard College in 2001. “My emphasis was in composition,” he says. “I started out as a guitar performance major because I wanted to be able to play an instrument to write songs on. But I switched my interest to composition, and that’s really what I was in love with — I just didn’t know it until I chunked through some of that stuff. That’s what college forces you to do.”

Kipar’s songwriting skills have earned praise from many sources — “small scale symphony,” writes Mountain Xpress, “never settling for conventional melodic or lyrical choices,” adds Asheville magazine. “Going to school and studying composition with Paul Elwood was basically like gathering a toolbox,” Kipar says. “Before I went back to school I had hit a plateau where I just wrote the same song over and over again in a different way. Picking up compositional techniques and tactics, you just have a whole dictionary of things to use as writing tools. I don’t think I’ll ever cover everything in my lifetime. That’s the beauty of it. There are so many different ways to create music.”

Kipar is inspired by music like Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ and Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody In Blue.’ “I love Debussy’s ‘La Mer,'” he says. “It’s all about the oceans, and it’s creating imagery through several different movements. My college professor was persistent that you take an original melody when you’re thinking about a song or a work, and you get everything that happens in that song from that group of notes, those intervals. It can always come back around, but you’re developing it from those. It’s like when you’re writing — you come up with a topic, you develop your thesis statement and then you elaborate on that statement. Music is a language in so many different forms, so a lot of those same principles can be applied.”

Kipar met his talented bandmate, Jon Morrow, at Brevard College, where they played classical music together in the guitar ensemble. Morrow plays an eight-stringed Novax guitar, and simultaneously covers guitar and bass parts in the GKP. They trade off on leads. “It works well because we’re both playing finger-style picking for the most part,” Kipar says. “On a couple tunes I’ll use a pick for a strumming pattern. I try and write music for those instruments, with lots of counterpoint happening. So the experience that we got together in guitar ensemble has definitely carried through to this point.”

Drummer Jeremy Young brings a myriad of grooves to the table, from world beat and jazz fusion to blues and avant garde. “I was on the hunt for a drummer, heard him play one night, and it all came from there,” Kipar recalls. “He is the rock. I love that guy. John and Jeremy have definitely turned me on to some other styles of music. We’ve been listening to Indian composers, and they’ve turned me on to some jazz — I really like Brad Mehldau’s stuff.”

Western North Carolina has proven to be a good fit for Galen Kipar. “Brevard kind of found me, honestly. I had fallen in love with the mountains and gotten into fly- fishing,” he says. “I got a little bit of scholarship money, and that was enough to at least get me up here. From there I found Asheville and just fell in love with the area. If you’re going to be on the East Coast, in my opinion, this is it. Especially for a musician or someone that loves the outdoors.

“Art is a reflection of your surroundings, a mirror of culture. I think that if you spend enough time in one kind of environment then it’s going to channel through in whatever you’re doing.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.boldlife.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A15294

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Frank Ruggiero with the Boone Mountain Times posted a second, longer and more in depth article detailing his recent interview with David Gans:

David Gans Playing in the Band

By Frank Ruggiero  in the Boone Mountain Times

The music never stopped for David Gans.

A celebrated radio host by day and singer-songwriter by night, Gans is a storyteller 24/7, a member of the old school who sees music beyond the notes.

“I think music can change the world,” he said. “I came up in that day, and I still believe that. I’m not a heavy-handed political commentator … but one of those people who uses music to inspire people to be healthy and kind.”

As host of radio’s nationally syndicated The Grateful Dead Hour, Gans has delivered inspiration for 25 years. Celebrated as a “singer-songwriter-guitarist-radio producer/host-author-journalist-record producer-photographer,” Gans’ many talents fit together seamlessly.

“I was a musician from the time I was a kid,” said Gans, 56, adding that writing was always a driving force behind the sound.

Though always a writer, time spent in the ’70s as a musician-of-all-trades in San Francisco’s Bay Area led to life-changing opportunities in the writing world, when Gans took jobs for magazines like BAM and Jann Wenner’s Record. “All of which were great ways to find out more about music and meet people in this business,” he said.

This spawned a 10-year tour in the music news industry, an experience that enriched his own perspective of music through myriad interviews with such stalwarts of rock as Tom Petty, Rod Stewart, Pat Benatar, Leo Fender and the Grateful Dead.

This latter encounter prompted an enduring (and career-defining) friendship with America’s preeminent jam band, its all-encompassing approach toward music a perfect fit for Gans’s musical philosophy.
As a fan of the Dead, Gans sought out those stories in particular and, in 1977, scored an interview with rhythm guitarist Bob Weir.

“They recognized that I knew what they were doing and understood, so I made friends with various band members and other members of their team and family,” Gans said. “Just by being a supportive journalist, I was welcomed into their world.”

Gans offered readers a vivid glimpse of this world in 1985, when he and co-author Peter Simon released the book, “Playing in the Band: An Oral and Visual Portrait of the Grateful Dead.”

That spring, Gans promoted his work on a San Francisco radio program, The Deadhead Hour, putting together a set of defining songs to musically illustrate his work, when he realized this was something he really enjoyed. Gans took the helm that year, and The Grateful Dead Hour was born.

“By then, I had sufficiently warm relations with various parts of the Grateful Dead world, that when the opportunity came up to syndicate the show, I took it,” Gans said.

But not without a blessing from the Dead.

“I started getting requests from other stations, asking if they could carry the show, too,” Gans said. “So, I went to my friends in the band and asked, ‘What do you guys think?’ They said, ‘It sounds like a good idea for everybody; just go for it.’

“None of this was by design, intention or even planned – it just happened. I had developed such relationships with these guys that I could get their support when I tried to do something. They trusted me, and (bassist) Phil Lesh made that explicit at one point: ‘You don’t have to call me to ask for permission to do this or that – if it’s worth putting on the air, we trust you.’ And that was a great feeling.”

Broadcasted on at least 82 stations, 75 radio and seven Internet-based, The Grateful Dead Hour features music from and inspired by the Dead, woven together with Gans’s firsthand stories from the Golden Road and interviews with musicians and other Grateful Dead luminaries.

And when it comes to the Dead, there’s never a shortage of music.

“I’ve been doing radio for the Grateful Dead for 25 years, and there’s never been a single moment in that whole time where I didn’t have a wealth of material to choose from … It’s a completely well-stocked pantry of great music – delicious and largely nutritious, too.”

And for Gans, music is a key ingredient and part of this complete breakfast.

“Music is my life, man,” he said, citing a talent that flourished from age 6 with the clarinet to guitar at 15 and beyond. “I guess I have some natural affinity for music, a good ear for learning melodies, picking up chords … I’ve always been driven to express myself that way.”

Gans came of age in the time of singer-songwriters, visiting music halls in San Jose, Calif., to sing the likes of John Denver, Cat Stevens, Jackson Browne and John Prine.

Growing up with songbooks from The Beatles’ “White Album” and Crosby, Stills and Nash’s self-titled album, Gans aimed to master the singer-songwriter dynamic. But in college, his roommate and songwriting partner introduced him to the Grateful Dead, “and that completely blew my world wide open,” Gans said. “But the thing that grabbed me (about the Dead) was the songwriting, a great catalogue of American music those guys put out.”

He calls it a musical university, one in which a student could spend the rest of his life exploring.
“But also bear in mind, I’ve been writing songs since I was 16,” he said. “So, I’ve never completely surrendered myself to being a fan of something else. Even though I’d been earning my living putting Grateful Dead music on the radio for 25 years, it was never more important than pursuing my own songwriting.”

In 1997, he released Home by Morning, a duet album featuring Gans and singer-songwriter Eric Rawlins, which was followed the next year by the well-timed single, “Monica Lewinsky,” by David Gans and the Broken Angels.

Five solo albums would follow, but Gans relishes his live performances the most, particularly the degree of spontaneity involved. At a Bears Picnic Festival in Pennsylvania, Gans wound up sitting in with just about every band there. “It was fun, and it’s nice being that kind of musician who people welcome into their sets as guests, which means I can pick up guests to play with, as well.”

One such guest was Phil Lesh, and Gans is considered responsible for rousing the world-renowned bassist from retirement.

“He had not played much … since Jerry (Garcia) had passed (in 1995),” Gans said. “I was working on a benefit … in the Bay Area, putting together a Grateful Dead jam for this event, and asked if he’d come and sit in.”

Lesh agreed, and the September 1997 show promptly sold out. David Gans and Broken Angels with Special Guest Phil Lesh played a couple more benefits, this time for Lesh’s Unbroken Chain Foundation, featuring a group of musicians unique to each performance.

“He liked the idea of a rotating cast of musicians, so he started doing the same thing under Phil Lesh and Friends,” Gans said. “He saw something he liked, then went and did it himself with some world-class collaborators.”

“World-class” is a fitting term for Gans’ own collaborators, including the New Riders of the Purple Sage, the late Vassar Clements, The String Cheese Incident and Peter Rowan. Gans recently joined Rowan’s younger brothers, Chris and Lorin, in Rubber Souldiers, a jam tribute to The Beatles.

“It’s a labor of love,” he said. “We call it a Beatles jam band, taking their songs and kind of stretching them out, because here’s the thing – The Beatles wrote some amazing songs with amazing melodies, chord changes and kick-ass grooves, and then they quit after three minutes. Come on, man, take that song and stretch it out and let people dance a while.”

But Gans’s solo shows promise dancing aplenty. Using a looping device, he’s able to accompany himself, as it were, by building simultaneous layers of guitar work. “It’s a way of allowing myself to improvise with myself,” he said.

Having originally intended the loop to serve as a rhythm guitarist, allowing him to experiment and improvise on lead, Gans realized its full potential.

“Take ‘Cassidy’s Cat,’ a whole bunch of themes from Grateful Dead songs I intertwine, put together in a fresh way,” he said.

His repertoire includes beaucoups of looping figures of his own device, though Gans also performs what he calls “the straightforward stuff,” having generated 40 years’ of songwriting material.

“I play a fresh set list every time, working from my own repertoire of original material and covers from others,” he said. “It’s a real-time performance, interacting with the audience, what feels right, what seems to get their attention. In other words, I’m doing it live like the Grateful Dead taught me, and telling stories, too.”

Gans’ own story continues, naturally, through song. He’s releasing a new single, “Life is a Jam,” this spring, soon to be available for download at www.dgans.com. His last full album was 2008’s The Ones That Look the Weirdest Taste the Best, but for now, he plans to make music single-mindedly.

“It’ll be interesting to try doing things one song at a time for a while,” he said. “We’re at a moment in the history of music when all the old institutions are falling apart, so we have to find new ways to do things.

“Rejoice, rejoice; we have no choice, but to carry on.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www2.mountaintimes.com/entertainment_focus/David_Gans_Playing_in_the_Band_id_001237

By: Frank Ruggiero
Published: 8:38 AM, 04/29/2010 Last updated: 9:45 AM, 04/29/2010

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David Gans is starting off this weekend with a his run of Shows in North Carolina. He starts off at the Shakori Hills Festival in Silk Hope. Then he heads over to Asheville, Greensboro, Boone, and one secret surprise show that has not yet been announced. Check out this article from a recent interview with Ryan Snyder from Yes! Weekly in Greensboro:

‘Dead Hour’ DJ and guitarist gets a little help from friends for NC shows

By Ryan Snyder

Yes! Weekly

Songwriter, DJ and Deadhead David Gans trips out east for a run of fullband shows (photo by Bob Minkin).

It’s been a long, strange trip for David Gans. The quirky, inventive guitarist and songwriter has affixed innumerable other designations to his name over his 40-year career, all in the course of just trying to write a few songs and play a few shows. Among them are writer and author — Gans was a music journalist who wrote for several San Francisco publications in the ’70s and has published books on the Grateful Dead and the Talking Heads. But Deadheads who like their doses — the musical kind mind you — straight from the heart know Gans as the founder and still-host of the long-running and widely syndicated “Grateful Dead Radio Hour.” Gans has been in the booth for over 1000 broadcasts and as of a recent YES! Weekly interview, was working on episode no. 1127, but his journey into the booth doesn’t quite play out like one might expect.

Gans saw his first Dead show in 1972 at the behest of his then roommate and songwriting partner and it was only a few months later, he said, that he started to get a handle on what the band was doing.

“I grew up on the Beatles and was a big fan of early ’70s singer/ songwriters, the acoustic pop/folk/rock back then. The Dead expanded my horizons, so I began to get more into playing guitar and improvising,” Gans said. “It also just made me realize that songwriting could be literature. You could write stuff with depth to that that took a little more work to engage it than the pop stuff that just kind of tells you everything it knows in the first couple of listens.”

A few years later, while promoting his book Playing In the Band in 1985, Gans went onto a local radio show to produce a series of documentaries for the station and eventually began contributing regularly. They eventually asked him to take over the show and after other stations expressed interest in carrying it, it led to the “Grateful Dead Hour”’s eventual syndication.

“Without ever making a plan to do so, I sort of wandered into this thing of being the producer and host and still am 25 years later,” Gans said. “I never lost interest making my own music or all the other music out there in the world, but it became a pretty fun way to make a living.”

Though he insists that he never became a full-blown Deadhead, the band’s influence is felt all throughout Gans’ own music, from his ragged, witty Americana lyrical repertoire to his brazenly adventurous solo stage act to the Dead covers he weaves into it with regularity. Gans has become both known and celebrated for his live looping techniques, playing the role of his own rhythmic accompaniment, but for an upcoming trek to the Southeast for a string of shows, Gans will be meeting up with a few friends from North Carolina for a somewhat rare run of full-band shows on the East Coast.

Among them are Donna the Buffalo keyboardist and Greensboro resident Dave McCracken, Donna the Buffalo and Acoustic Syndicate bassist Jay Sanders, Virginia Daredevils mandolin player Bobby Miller, Biscuit Burners steel player Bill Cardine and Blue Rags drummer Mike Rhodes, who Gans has never performed alongside. With such a talented cast behind him, Gans will be setting his loop station aside for this occasion for obvious reasons, though he will be teaching a looping clinic this Saturday afternoon at the Shakori Hills Festival. [Gans and Friends performs on Wednesday, April 28th at the Blind Tiger]

“When you’re playing with a looping device, it’s like playing with a musician who’s a real dick. It can’t hear you and it can’t adjust,” Gans emphasized.” When you’re playing with a human, nothing’s perfect of course, but everybody listens to each other and the feel for what you’re doing sort of adjusts. It’s also just much more fun when you’re playing live to have others with you.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.yesweekly.com/article-9235-dead-hour-dj-and-guitarist-gets-a-little-help-from-friends-for-nc-shows.html

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