The word gospel means “good news.” It is God’s news they say.
Well, Mark Cutler has been doing “the lord’s work” for awhile now with his ingenious songwriting group called The Same Thing Project.
This community meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 AM in charming Rolfe Square in Cranston. It is a diverse group consisting of members of the music scene, actors, plumbers and even some folks who are considered disabled (although I believe that’s all relative).
Cutler is no stranger to songwriting collaboration. He has always given back through his music and taken something that he has so much talent for and shared it. He enjoys his craft, and when someone who loves what their doing does it in front of others, it becomes infectious.
I myself was part of a songwriter group with him which manifested into two CD’s under the moniker ‘The Dino Club,’ so I recognize the techniques and how fertile an environment Mr. Cutler can encourage.
It doesn’t surprise me that he’s standing in front of a white board and leading his group in accomplishing what (if you think about it) is pretty damn ambitious; writing a song in one session.
My friend got caught up in some pretty grave stuff these past months; beating a health scare and losing a beloved member of his family. Except for maybe one or two days due to treatment, he never let down his people, and wrote a song a week.
Which brings us to “Walks of Life Collaborations,” a brand new CD available through 75 or Less records. It contains ten songs from the cooperatives’ works and I am in love with the humanity that emanates from this recording.
The voices who appear on this piece, some of them known (MC himself), and others who became regular contributors are so wonderfully real that this sap actually wells up when I hear them.
Please don’t make me explain this record in prose. It must be heard. Buy it, don’t scrutinize damn it, please just purchase this record, and then you’ll understand.
Thank you Mark and company for spreading the good news.
- Bob Giusti
by Bobby Forand
Jeff Danielian does something a little different for his third volume of poetry. He digs deep into his archived writing, adding 40 poems (which he dubs “Ramblings of a Man Uncertain”) that he had written well over 20 years ago and left on a shelf, mostly untouched. He adds this to another 40 poems that he had written much more recently, making for a volume that shows who Danielian was and who he currently is. The most intriguing part of this is to learn that, while there has been growth and development, Danielian has basically been the same person all along.
A difference I’ve noticed was with his writing style. “Ramblings of a Man Uncertain” uses long lines with a good amount of words. “Remnants of a Former Time,” more akin to his other volumes, keeps things shorter and simpler. He gets to his points much quicker and it has more of a rhythm. This is not to say that one is better than the other, as the writing is strong in both.
Danielian uses a lot of the same themes in his older work. More so than that, he uses some of the same phrases multiple times. “Out of reach,” is a line that is used in a few of the poems, even having it be the title of one of his poems. Nature is prevalent throughout as well, which, while a common theme for many poets, is a departure from his newer material, showing the changes that can happen with growing older.
While I wrote that Danielian’s writing represents an individual who hasn’t strayed far from who he used to be, I do enjoy the differences I’ve noticed. A younger Danielian is one full of naivety; angry at the unknown world ahead of him, but also free of grown-up responsibilities. There is an obvious youthful voice throughout these poems, which leads to some darker and angsty themes. I like the contrast to his newer work, which shows a fully grown man treading through marriage, children, a house and other life expenses. He dedicates some words to yearning for the good old days (I like that there are 40 poems of those good old days he longs for). He writes about the vices that help him cope (tobacco and bourbon) with both his younger and current years, showing that few things ultimately change.
This is a robust volume of poetry. I appreciate the risk Danielian took in putting his old self out for those to read instead of leaving those poems printed on a shelf collecting dust. It gives his fans a full sense of who he is, was and (probably) will always be. That aside, there are some fantastic poems that are (in typical Danielian fashion) quick, easy and enjoyable to read, along with some lines that need to be read multiple times for further enjoyment and meaning.
By Adam Hogue
“Therapy without the doctors bills I suppose.”
That’s the way Bill Keough muses about his most recent set of songs off his newest album You’ll Disappear, Just Like They All Do. The songs on this latest effort come out at various points with biting tone, apathetic reflections, and shades of gray humor that create an album tempered and moody, yet a raucous call for celebration and heartfelt earnestness.
“I went through a two year stretch (during the writing and recording process of the record) where the up-to-then always solid walls of my life were caving in all around me,” Bill says. “Death, deception, divorce, self doubt… you name it, it all found its way to me. This led to a lot of re-self discovery and an honest reckoning of what had transpired and where it had dropped me off at after the tumultuous trip. Perfect timing if one is looking for subject matter for songs for sure.”
The title You’ll Disappear, Just Like They All Do sets the tone in a Rust Never Sleeps kind of Neil Young-resignation, along with a distinctive ‘90s garage, grunge, post-punk style reminiscent of Modest Mouse or Pixies. With those elements at play, mood becomes a big aspect of this record.
I can’t think of a local record quite as moody or style-focused as this one in recent memory.
With the lead-off track (complete with a music video) “I Am the Lighthouse,” Bill presents a noise-driven collection of music that uses time and space, sparse lyricism, and chaotic guitars to bring stark reality to the forefront, but allows it to linger over lush musical arrangements. The tracks “Bed” into “Gentle Smile” offer the best expression of Bill’s Frank Black approach to lyrics spat out between long forays into dual guitar interludes that follow unexpected chordal changes.
“I feel it’s vital to present a story in a series of songs where attention to sequencing of the songs from beginning to end plays an important role,” Bill says. “It sets a tone and lays a fluid foundation for the mood, whether it’s the one you intended or what the listener walks away with and comes back to. My songs are deeply personal. I have no reservations in parting my ribs to share my heart in hopes that it might strike a chord with anyone willing to listen and relate on their own level. It’s what’s always been special to me about music, hearing that song that hits you in such a way you never expected.”
Along with his 75 or Less Records counterparts, Bill falls in with artists given the artistic space to be themselves both in the studio and out. Listening to You’ll Disappear, Just Like They All Do plays like an album meant to be heard recorded. Yet, each song can clearly be imagined to take on a life of its own, unafraid to exist as something unique to what is heard on the album.
“I keep it pretty simple [live],” Bill says, “just an electric acoustic guitar and a few pedals heading back through my amp. I have not had the joy of playing with a full band for the last few years although nothing is more euphoric than that experience for sure, musically. I definitely fall into the category of a recording artist who plays their songs live. It used to be the opposite back in the day.”
Bill Keough is currently working on another video from the album to be released soon.
75OL-293 The Same Thing Project – Walks of Life Collaborations
$15.00 S&H Included
$15.00 S&H Included
- Common Ground
- Mama’s Blueberry Pie
- Someone to Love
- Music of the Night
- Better Days
- Scary Love
- Ebb and Flow
- We’re Leaving
The Same Thing Project is a songwriting workshop for people from all walks of life.
We have musicians, artists, retired folks, people with disabilities, blue and white collar workers participate every week in writing a song.
We provide a place where you don’t have to be skilled at a musical instrument in order to be musical. The goal is to have a place where someone can be part of a creative community that is open, non judgmental and encouraging.
It’s our belief that the world is a better place when people can express themselves in an imaginative way. A society is measured by how much it nurtures its arts and culture. People appreciate the arts more when they themselves take part in creating it (whatever that might be). People are never too old or young to learn something new or to write a song. You can see that spark of inspiration go on in young kids, retired newspaper writers and the father and son who take lessons so that they can play guitars together. People who take part in The Same Thing Project know the feeling of being in the midst of the creative process. We want others in the community to experience it.
The Same Thing Project meets every Tuesday morning, 10:00AM at The Artists Exchange 82 Rolfe Square Cranston, RI and it’s free and open to everyone!
Oriental Pearl Restaurant
576 State Rd
9pm. No cover
According to his brief Bandcamp bio, “Keith A/B is a singer-songwriter from the Providence area.” But that doesn’t really describe his newest album, Without Grievance.
The opening song, “Hey Kelly,” does not fit what you’d expect from a singer-songwriter. That term conjures an image of an acoustic guitar and something along the lines of folk, or maybe some mainstream, straight up rock music. Instead, “Hey Kelly” sounds like Jason Lowenstein’s contributions to Sebadoh. It’s much louder and more dissonant than a singer-songwriter usually sounds. From there “I’d Be a Success” sounds more like a singer-songwriter, but only because it’s more mellow. It still has an undercurrent of abrasive noise lurking underneath. It’s not until the fourth track, “No Black Magic Required,” that Without Grievance almost sounds like a traditional singer-songwriter, but once again even this song goes off in its own direction. And these are all good things.
75OL-290 Keith A/B – Without Grievance CD
$7.00 S&H Included
- Hey Kelly
- I’d Be A Success
- Candle Wax
- No Black Magic Required
- Triple Deckers
- Alligators Chased Me Home
Keith A/B is a Providence area singer-songwriter. For fans of Jeff Buckley, The Walkmen, Tame Impala, Deerhunter, Polvo, Cobra Verde, and Guided by Voices.
Rob Anastasi’s Minky Starshine has a new LP produced by Ken Stringfellow and has enlisted the support of Mike Musburger, Ducky Carlisle, Corin Ashley, Fernando Perdomo, and Phil Aiken. The album starts with the laid-back “Art School” as the lead lyric seems pessimistic; “I went to school for art but ended up pushing papers” however it comes around to the upbeat “everywhere is going to lead somewhere.” But the darkness creeps in on “Everybody Loves to Party” despite the catchy chords and “London Metropole” focuses on the pain of loneliness.
The notable “Good Company” is a bright spot, with its hopeful melody and layered guitars. The production is artfully done, as Anastasi’s songs are emotional and resonate, but the edge seems much softer now. Especially on the apprehensive “Go!” which mixes a fast paced verse with a big arena-friendly multi-tracked chorus. Unfortunately, many other songs just didn’t stick in my head, which seems a long way from the brilliant Womanity. This is still music that deserves to be heard, and Anastasi is a world-class talent. Check it out.