The Hutton – Saturday, Feb 24

Join me on Saturday at The Hutton, a hip little restaurant and bar in Jersey City, NJ. Come for some food and stay for some music. I’m happy to be sharing two sets of music with you. Ty Tuschen will be joining me on electric guitar for the evening.

We have originals as well as a wide range of covers to share with you. It’s been fun to re-imagine and interpret arrangements for songs ranging from Don Henley to Kendrick Lamar to Julia Michaels to Tom Petty and more! I’m still working out the full set list, but here’s the working song list.

And of course there will be plenty of looping and plenty of pedals involved between the both of us.

I really hope you can join us. Here are the details!

Saturday, February 24th
Josh Bicknell and Ty Tuschen
The Hutton
225 Hutton Street
Jersey City, NJ 07307
10pm-midnight

Join the Facebook Event >>

Christina Alessi & the Toll Collectors at Finnegan’s on Friday, February 9th

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Join us for a night of original music interspersed with meticulously curated covers at Finnegan’s in Hoboken, where the answer is always, “Yes!” Our bass player, Jon Andrew will be opening the night backed by his trio (Ty Tushchen – guitar; John Roccasano – drums), followed by two sets from Christina Alessi & The Toll Collectors. The fun begins at 10pm!

Friday, February 9th 
Christina Alessi & the Toll Collectors and the Jon Andrew Trio
Finnegan’s Pub
734 Willow Avenue
Hoboken, NJ 07030
10pm-1am

RSVP on Facebook >>

Work in Progress

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When is a piece of art – be it visual, music, writing, or something else – considered finished?

There is always something to add, change, or fix. Always something that could be different or better. And when you’re working digitally, it becomes more apparent. You can theoretically create unlimited versions of any piece.

When does it end? Or, does it ever end?

Is most art still a work in progress?

When Queen recorded Bohemian Rhapsody, they layered so many vocal harmonies and new tracks that they could actually see through the tape. It wasn’t until they were on the verge of physically breaking the technology, the tape, they considered it finished. The technology forced them into it!

Walt Whitman was never truly finished with Leaves of Grass. Each new printing was an opportunity to add, change, and evolve the work. In his third editionhe added 146 new poems. The eighth edition was the final time he altered it, 33 years after the first edition!

It’s been said that a work of art takes on a life of it’s own once it is received and interpreted by an audience. I find it interesting that a work of art also evolves at the hand of the artist. The art has an initial birth, but has the opportunity to evolve over time.

My single, Walking On, follows in this tradition.

It began as a contribution to a benefit compilation album. Banding Together is both a celebration of local music and a benefit for the Spondylitis Association of America. It’s a yearly event organized by Lazlo at blowupradio.com.

For the 2016 compilation, it didn’t feel right to take the same stripped-down approach I had taken in previous years. My live show had evolved. I was experimenting with live looping. Ty Tuschen had been joining me on electric guitar for shows. I wanted to incorporate these new elements into the recording.

So I evolved my recording process. I live-looped a guitar percussion part, played guitar and sang over the loop. Then, I invited Ty to play electric guitar. He added a killer guitar solo, a slide guitar, and some additional atmosphere. I added a bass to fill it out. It sounded great. I released it to Lazlo just within the deadline!

Walking On was officially birthed, but was it finished?

Like Queen, I began thinking of new parts that might make it better.

Like Walt Whitman, I began thinking about what else I might do with the track as part of it’s next release. Send it to all of the major distributors like Apple Music, Amazon, and Spotify. Make it an official single. At the same time, I knew the Banding Together version ought to be exclusive to the compilation.

I went into the recording session file and duplicated it. Just like that, the next evolution of the song was born. A work in progress.

The looped guitar percussion was unique, but didn’t hit you with enough impact. I doubled it with a kick drum (a live sample and an 808) and hand claps.

The lead vocal was recorded live in one take. I knew I could make it better. I learned some new vocal production tips to thicken the main vocal and make it shine.

What about backing vocals? Yes!

Then, I thought the bass should be more present. So I doubled it with a sine wave synth bass.

After (probably) a few too many days of mixing and tweaking, wondering if Walking On was actually finished, I did a final export.

This latest version of Walking On is the one I’m sticking with for now. I’m glad it did not take me 33 years to get there. I’m also glad I didn’t risk a technology breakdown to get there.

It’s available everywhere you can find digital music. Apple Music/iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Bandcamp, and hundreds more.

I’m in the midst of the next work in progress. Like Queen, I’m pushing the technological limits. I’m working with 100+ audio tracks and my system is on the verge of breaking down. When it’s as good as it can be, I will release it as another single. Maybe when I have enough singles, I’ll have an EP. Or a full-length album.

Maybe when I get to that point, I’ll have another opportunity to further evolve these works in progress.

Facebook Live Set from 12/27/17

Last week, I decided to test out Facebook Live by performing a live solo acoustic set. I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I planned to perform a quick, mini three-song set. Soon into it, I realized just how interactive the platform could be. I saw people joining, commenting, sharing… it was really quite amazing to see it all happening while I played in front of my phone from the comfort of my own home.

I wound up playing seven songs, totaling about 35 mins. I hope to do it again sometime soon, but in the meantime you can watch last week’s recording below. I’ve included embeds and links to both Facebook and YouTube.

Setlist:

  1. Silent Night
  2. A New Start
  3. Walking On
  4. Loveland
  5. Don’t You Ever Want to Be In Love?
  6. Melt with You
  7. Howlin’

Watch on Facebook:
If embed doesn’t appear, click here to watch directly on Facebook.

Watch on YouTube:
If embed doesn’t appear, click here to watch directly on YouTube.

Thanks for watching!

Silent Night Now Streaming + A Holiday Music Playlist

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I’m happy to announce that my recording of “Silent Night” is now up on all major digital platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music/iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and Bandcamp.

In celebration, I’ve made public playlists of some of my favorite holiday music, both old and new. It’s currently filled with 3 1/2 hours worth of music. Perfect to have in the background as you open presents, spend time with family and friends, travel, or any time you want to get in the holiday spirit. Set it to shuffle and enjoy!

Silent Night

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Last Wednesday, I came home with an idea for a song arrangement. I recorded it right away and today I’m releasing the recording to you. I’m not entirely certain what sparked it, but I suspect it had something to do with having a desire for peace during this holiday season. The phrase “sleep in” stuck in my mind and I had the idea to loop it. From there, the rest of the arrangement came together quickly. The vocal loop offered a sense of motion while also adding a peaceful, sleepy element to the song. Perhaps if we all slept in a little more often, we’d have a little more peace and be a little less on edge?

Here’s to sleeping in this holiday season. The image for the cover you see above is one I captured during the blizzard in NYC on January 23, 2016. The roads were closed and for a night the Manhattan streets were quiet and peaceful.

Please enjoy my interpretation and recording of this holiday classic, Silent Night.

It is currently available to stream and download (pay what you want) from Bandcamp. In the coming days, it will also be available on all of the major streaming services like Spotify, Amazon, and Apple Music.

White Eagle Hall – Friday, December 1

I’m so excited to be performing at a new, larger-than-life concert venue in Jersey City. Mike Kuzan, of The Latest Noise, is putting together an amazing show featuring some of the top local bands in the Hoboken/Jersey City music scene. I’m honored to be playing with Christina Alessi & the Toll Collectors for this one!

Check out the size of this space!

Here’s a great feature about the show up on nj.com.

And here’s a nice little teaser video. If the embed doesn’t appear below, you can click here to watch it on YouTube.

Friday, December 1st 
Christina Alessi & the Toll Collectors
White Eagle Hall
337 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07302
8pm
RSVP on Facebook >>

Purchase Tickets in Advance >>

Led Zeppelin Engagement 2.0 – Saturday, October 28th

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I’m super excited to be part of the Led Zeppelin Engagement 2.0. Playing version 1.0 on the waterfront was amazing (you can watch me playing drums on “Hey, Hey, What Can I Do? on YouTube), but I suspect bringing this event indoors to Maxwell’s will make it rock even harder. The event features over 30 local musicians coming together to play the music of Led Zeppelin. Don’t miss it!

Saturday, October 28th 
Led Zeppelin Engagement 2.0 
Maxwell’s Tavern
1039 Washington Street
Hoboken, NJ 07030
8pm
RSVP on Facebook >>

A nice writeup about the event in hMag is here:
http://hmag.com/houses-holy-led-zeppelin-engagement-comes-…/ 
Tickets are $8 here, but $15 at the door.

Banding Together 2017 and Maxfield’s Recap 10/14/17

Doubleheaders aren’t only for sporting events.

This past Saturday, I spent the afternoon playing as part of the Banding Together 2017 fundraising show at Espresso Joe’s in Keyport, NJ and the evening playing with Christina Alessi & the Toll Collectors for three sets at Maxfield’s on Main in Boonton, NJ.

If you haven’t done so yet, please consider donating to the Spondylitis Association of America. As a fun way to donate, you can purchase a digital compilation album, which includes exclusive tracks from local musicians. I have a track on there, too!

Donate at https://spondy.bandcamp.com today!

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