Happy Birthday Supersmall

My band supersmall is four years old. Well, it was last month but i’ve been too busy to post about it. We recently played Trinity college in Hartford CT as part of The Amygdaloids (we make up the rythmn section – drum & bass), the following night we played the Heavy Mental Festival at Drom back in NYC both as Supersmall and again as The Amygdaloids and Monday I done my usual turn at the Four Faced Liar. At the last gig I got to play for only the third time an old song I wrote waasaay back when I was nineteen. It doesn’t have a title but I remember calling it “How Far” back in the day — i’m sure I can come up with something better. It got a great response and it was suggested I record it. It doesn’t sit well with the Supersmall material, it’s more jazz/blues but maybe if I find the time i’ll record it as a single.

As I write this i’m upstate in Long Eddy recording with The Rock Valley Retinue (more on that later) in a temporarily converted school house, inbetween takes of course. I’m on day 3 of 3 and i’m impressed wth how much work we got done on top of convertng it into a studio–it’s amazing how productive you can be deep in the woods with no cell coverage or WiFi.

Anyway, when I return there are a few scatered shows but i’m looking forward to focusing on These Dark Woods, Supersmall’s next record. It’s coming along nicely, musically of course…lyrics always take time. I’m inspired, so that’s something.

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Supersmall – East Village, NY.

Anyway, four years, two records and still going strong.

Silent Moon Released

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We are proud to announce that our debut album, Silent Moon is here. We had our release show at Rockwood Music Hall on Wednesday night and we want to send a big Thank You! to all who came out.

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You can download Silent Moon from our Bandcamp page HERE or at CD Baby HERE.

iTunes, Spotify and everything else will follow soon.

Here is what some of the early reviewers said…

“Overachievers they may be, but if “A Better Life” is any indication, here’s hoping this is the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship for Supersmall.” – Elmore Magazine.

“A nice acoustic treat. The album is full of sonic goodness, fresh guitar riffs and relaxing vocals that soothe.” – GroundSounds.

“They sound great together.” – Folk Radio UK. The UK’s Leading Folk & Roots Website and Radio Station.

“There is nothing at all small about Supersmall, they are a large sounding folk/pop group. Beautiful vocals, beautiful arrangements. A great band that is on its way to big things. I’m hitching my wagon to their star.” – AudioFuzz

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We’re also excited to announce that HiFi Records & Cafe are now selling both This Other World and our latest release, Silent Moon. They also have a great selection of new and used vinyl and have delicious coffee. Go check it out.

…and now we push on to the next project. These Dark Woods E.P. will be out later this year.

I’m Famous…kinda, not really.

Marisa and I were returning home from Sparrows, one of our favorite places to grab a beer on a Friday evening and stopped off at a local store. The owner is always very friendly as he sees Marisa most mornings and me most nights returning from a gig or rehearsal. We picked up a beer each, coffee and eggs for the morning. At the cash register he insisted on giving us the coffee and eggs for free. Confused but grateful we thanked him and made for the door. “I really like your band” he said. I turned as he continued “Between The Sun and Candlelight, that’s my favorite song”. I thanked him and left even more confused. It was only after we walked a block that I remembered giving him a copy of the record late one night after a Supersmall rehearsal. I’d been stopping to buy stuff while lugging the guitar around for years and he asked me about my music. I happened to have a few of the new CDs on me, so I gave him one and forgot about it. I walked back to the apartment with my free eggs and coffee like a rockstar…well, one that was very prepared for the following day’s breakfast.

Update: October 15th.

Coming home from rehearsal tonight I stopped off at the same store and only had to pay for half of my groceries. It was nice but also a little uncomfortable. This is my local go-to place, I don’t want them thinking i’m shopping there for free stuff now.

Update: November 6th.

Free chocolate 😉

Update: November 18th.

$2 off groceries.

Nashville Road Trip – Day #7

Tuesday – Day #7:

As I left Washington this morning I was craving some strong coffee and a chance to catch up on some reading. I found a cozy old diner on the road leaving town. Doghouse Diner is one of those lucky gems you find every now and again. It’s places like these where you can truly mix with the locals and get absorbed into their conversations. After my unsettling night at the motel, I cradled my coffee and waited until I was fully functional before hitting the road again. I took a wrong turn and ended up driving though an industrial part of town in a long-winded attempt at looping back around. Hitting a railroad crossing a little too hard caused me to chip a tooth which left a small hole in my back molar. It was something I knew would happen eventually but I was hoping to at least make it to my next dental appointment in a few weeks. Thank you Washington, I would have had to have that drilled out anyway.

I continued on 70 and took in the changing landscape yet again. Green and mountainous. It may have been even more beautiful but the roads cut through the mountains instead of going over or around them like earlier on my trip. After stopping for gas and continuing on my journey, the cookie cutter tunnels were so similar that I pulled off the road to make sure I wasn’t doubling back by mistake. I was going to stop at Harrisburg for lunch but decided to forge ahead to Lancaster so I could visit Amish Country. Driving from Lancaster (beautiful town btw) to Strasburg, I then got on route 896 and drove south-east into the center of the Amish countryside.

Unlike earlier when I was simply viewing the scenery, now I was in it. With the windows rolled down, everything I passed through poured into the car. The farms, livestock, cornfields and trees. I spotted several people on buggies and religion was as prominent as it was down south. I had packed a sandwich incase I couldn’t find a place to eat but somehow managed to find a small restaurant that sold slices of pizza. I ate it outside taking in my surroundings. A cop car pulled up beside me and waited in trying to catch speeders coming around a sharp turn in the road. There are many sharp turns in almost all the roads but I’m sure being close to pizza had something to with this particular location.

As I was attempting to find the road that would take me to towards south New Jersey where I would then travel north, my cell phone died. Now I was really lost. I had taken a scenic route through some back roads and lost track of my bearings. I pulled over to the side of the road, left the car running hoping to charge my phone and waited. I was totally alone, it was silent except for some birds and a few large towering trees moving in the breeze. I looked back from where I came from, a small village where kids came out to look at the car. Not that they had never seen a car before, Amish country is not really like that, probably just curious as I had really slipped off the beaten path. Except for the carved up fields and single electrical pylon in the distance there was no trace of people whatsoever. I had one of those moments again, they’re so rare these days. Growing up near farms as a kid it was something I would do from time to time, to go and get safely lost. I always knew how to return but there was a thrill of being totally isolated, at least for an amount of time I could control. I forgot how much our senses are constantly overloaded while living in New York. Near absolute silence can be a little unsettling.  My phone eventually charged, google maps lit up its screen and I found a route to the highway.

The drive north was the least interesting part of the whole trip until I hit Brooklyn via the Verrazano. Soon after I was pulling into a lucky spot outside my apartment and my Nashville road trip was over. It was good to be home. I’m glad I chose to turn the Nashville gigs into a road trip, I’ve returned with a far better appreciation of a good night’s sleep and country music. There is a directness, fun-loving quality and warmth with people I’ve encountered in the south that reminds me a little of home. Not just from this trip but from the one to New Orleans also. From here on out I’ll be looking for any excuse to return

I’ve been offered some out-of-state gigs for Supersmall, maybe this is something I could do again. Anyway, it’s great to be back home. The end!

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Nashville Road Trip – Day #6

Monday – Day #6:

Oh, Ohio sky!

Goodbye Nashville, I hardly knew yah. Upon the suggestion of several people who make the journey back to New York more than I do, I decided to return via a different route. I would be traveling north to Ohio, then across Pennsylvania towards home. First stop was for lunch in Louisville, Kentucky. Another large yet seemingly empty city. It was easy getting around, unlike New York I was free to move without being elbow to shoulder with folk. It will be hard leaving this sense of space behind. I walked to the Ohio River and enjoyed its peace and gentle quiet before searching for a place to get lunch. Back on the road I drove through Cincinnati and towards Columbus.

Virginia takes the ground for beauty but Ohio owns the Sky. It’s clouds so heavy, they collapse against the horizon like my unmade hotel bed. I stopped off at a gas station for coffee and water but took some time out to view the rolling cornfields that stopped just feet from the gas pumps. Big sky and cornfields is how I’ll remember Ohio. I listened to the double CD that I bought upon Pete’s suggestion at the Country Music Hall of Fame on repeat as it provided the perfect soundtrack on what would be some long uneventful driving with spectacular skyscapes.

I pushed hard to get as many miles under my belt as I could and finally settled on Washington, Pennsylvania as my stopover point. My cell phone wouldn’t work (goodbye faithful Priceline app) so I drove to a random motel and booked a room. It was rough, very far from the cheap Hilton deal I had found days earlier. It had a piercing odor that hung in the air as if the building was haunted by ghosts made of stale cheese. In addition to that, along with some heavy drinking by teenagers on my floor, made for a difficult sleep. I’m used to it though, the sporadic sleeping thing. I can function on three hours, six is optimal though. I’ve gone without on occasion and none was ever the wiser. When I did find some I had a bizarre/terrifying/the usual type of dream.

I pulled into an old country house down south for the night. They were full but told me they had room in a smaller cabin down the end of their property on the river. It was far from the road and main residence so I’d find some peaceful quiet sleep. It was an old, rustic place built sometime in the late 18th century. As I drifted off to sleep I suddenly became a witness to myself. I stood frozen in the corner, unable to move, watching myself sleep. I watched the candles burn down until the room was lit only by the moon reflecting off the river outside. A person I never seen before silently crept up to the side of my bed and watched me as I slept. So intense was their gaze that they began to bleed from their eyes. As an overwhelming sense of doom grew, I knew this person would hurt me. Then a loud, deafening banging began and grew until I woke up.

The banging remained, just as loud as in my dream. Once I gathered my senses I made for the door, the source of the thumping. The garbage chute was right outside my door and the cleaning lady was making good use of it.

I checked out and set off on the last leg of my road trip, tired and a little unsettled due to last nights dream.

Click HERE for Day #7.

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Nashville Road Trip – Day #5

Sunday – Day #5:

A little hungover this morning but only slightly. It was as good an excuse to load up on eggs, sausage, bacon, toast and lots of coffee as any. I’ll regret that feast later, and here I was just getting used to starting the day with fruit. I done a little writing in the hotel lobby and went back to the room to get my notes together for our show later at The Basement. We drove to The Country Music Hall Of Fame for a tour of Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats by Pete Finney (Our Pedal Steel band mate), who not only wrote the book about it but put the whole exhibit together. It was incredible, the detail and care that went into it was very much on display. I was also intimidated by how little I really knew about country music. Except for Johnny Cash and a handful of others, a lot of what I heard growing up was very commercial and somewhat unrelatable (at least for me). Although I found a growing appreciation for it in the last couple of years, mostly through the alt-country folk from Neko Case to Wilco/Uncle Tupelo it was a huge learning experience.

Afterwards we drove to The Basement incorporating a quick browse at a local vintage guitar store along the way and set up for the show. The Basement is the type of venue I love to play in New York. Gritty, charming, steeped in musical history and intimate. We were joined by our good friend Cliff from The Needmore Brothers on backing vocals and the show was a lot of fun. I played a Supersmall tune, “Goodbye Old Friend” which at a push is the nearest one I have that even comes close to a country song. Afterwards the band and some of the audience that came to see us retired the night over dinner. It was a perfect end to our time in Nashville.

One interesting thing that was mentioned by Jed, (once the VP of Sony Marketing) whom I sat beside at dinner was that a musician or artist must define their own version of success and then aim towards that. Each person’s is different. An interesting thought in the current musical environment that me and many other independent artists work within. How do you define success? I’ve witnessed many friends turn themselves inside out over this question, from poets to actors, not just musicians. It’s not something I’ve really focused on to be honest. The traditional definition such as fame terrifies me. It used to simply be having some kind of recognition by a music label or to sell a piece of music. I found that when I stopped worrying about playing to empty rooms I had achieved a level of success. When people consistently came to see my band or just me, that was good enough. I’ve never dwelled on anything other than writing better songs and being able to present them as honestly as I can on stage. Sounds like a strange thing to say, to “present them honestly” but due to anxiety both on and off stage I often find myself pretending to being me or a version close to, instead of just being me. The irony of sometimes playing with a scientist who studies anxiety is not lost on me. Reading books on Elliott Smith and Nick Drake who also dealt with these issues helps. Maybe it’s just maintaining a love for creativity and the adventures it brings me on. As I inch my way forward I’ve managed to maintain my sanity and self-worth, maybe that is success.

Anyway, it was another full day of music in Nashville and tomorrow I begin my road trip back to New York. I wish I could have stayed a little longer. Unlike when I arrived, I’ll be blasting country music when I leave tomorrow morning, that I am sure of.

Click HERE for Day #6.

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