Matt Lenny & The Elm City Council @ Tonic Room, on 4/3/2014
- Me and Bucky Hayes playing his tune, “Iva Louise”
- The band playing, “Come On and Join the Band”
- Dave Mendez and I getting into some ridiculous guitar battles. (As usual, he won, but I made him work for it!)
- (Same as #3)
- Bucky joins us for a cover of “Wurlitzer Prize”.
- (same as #5)
That was an awesome night. Huge thanks to every single person who came out and supported us. You made it memorable in every way.
I was watching this on Monday and was saddened to hear about Pete Seeger passing later that night. R.I.P, Mr. Seeger. Thanks for the music and for all the heart and soul you put into the things you believed in. You were truly a model for us all.
On a side note, young Johnny Cash is wild! Check out the shoes and how he’s just draped all over that chair. Wild!
Every once in a while, we get to play a show that stands out from all the others. It could be because the audience was extra special or the venue was beautiful or…well…all sorts of things that serve to separate it from all the hundreds (thousands?) of other gigs we’ve played.
In late September this year, we got to play just such a gig. It was fundraiser show for the Glenwood Sunday Market in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago and it was my first introduction to the concept of “glamping” (def: To camp in style, comfort, and/or luxury while still experiencing the great outdoors; to go glamping).
We set up in this amazing backyard and played under the stars and the beautiful lights and then sat down to an absolutely delicious dinner prepared with ingredients from the Sunday Market (a farmers market). The wine, food, friendly people, and the atmosphere led to the whole thing being a beautiful night out. Now we just hope they ask us back next time!
And, lucky for us, the fabulous Cara Spitzner was on hand to take this (and many other) gorgeous pictures of the whole evening.
First things first: I’m happy to announce that I/we have a new website! You can see it at www.mattlenny.com and, thanks to Virb (the site builder I used), it’s totally mobile friendly and (I think) looks great. Social networks are probably the place most people will see anything info about the band, but it’s still nice to collect it all into one place.
And that’s the other thing that’s been interesting. Those of you who know me know that:
- I’ve recorded a lot of music over the years.
- I’ve officially released/promoted very little of it.
There a lot of reasons for the latter, but the biggest one is basically that I’m a relentless perfectionist. If we record 10 songs and I decide that 2 of them don’t live up to my notions of what they should be, I have a hard time promoting the whole set. I usually start writing new tunes, too, and then I think to myself, “If only I had waited to record these instead of [insert song I don’t love], then this album would be really good. I should wait until I can do that.” Or I might like the song, but feel like we failed to do it justice in the studio.
All of this, by the way, is usually completely disconnected from what my listeners actually think. In fact, in some cases, people single out as their favorite a song that I can no longer stand.
I can’t change the past, but I definitely need to be better about this in the future and try to remember that a recording is a snapshot of a moment in time rather than the ultimate statement of what a song is or isn’t.
Anyway, in collecting everything into one place for the website, I ended up cataloguing all the original master tracks for everything I’ve recorded since 2005. And, in the process, I realized that there are tracks I really love that were part of albums I didn’t. Now, the world as a whole may disagree with me and say they’re no good and they range across a variety of styles (all subsets of rock/folk/blues) that might not equally appeal to everyone, but it was incredibly validating to hear it and realize that…well…I’m kinda proud of myself! I really didn’t just waste all that time! It didn’t bring me riches and fame or thousands of fans, but I made art. Real art. Flawed? For sure. But passionate and committed and…if I dare say so myself…not without some skill and degree of success.
So, I’ve collected my favorites into a FREE collection entitled, “The Unexplorer - Odds & Ends (2005 - 2011)”. You can get it here and I really hope you enjoy it. I know I did and sometimes I forget that the joy of it all is the point, the original dream, and the reward all in one.
-Matt Lenny / The Elm City Council
Classic country and #blues gig tonight. Getting in a quick warm up!
What the city is missing: Thierry Cohen photographs cityscapes and then photographs deserts at night, combing the two to show us what our cities would look like with the lights off. The stars are not enhanced, they are actual photos from relative latitudes that would expose the same starry sky view if it weren’t for light pollution. Click on each photo to see which city it is.
Data sonification: a years worth of location data turned into electronic music, by Brian House. Video embedded below:
Quotidian Record is a limited edition vinyl recording that features a continuous year of my location-tracking data. Each place I visited, from home to work, from a friend’s apartment to a foreign city, is mapped to a harmonic relationship. 1 day is 1 rotation … 365 days is ~11 minutes.
As the record turns, the markings on the platter indicate both the time as it rotates through every 24 hours and the names of the cities to which I travel. The sound suggests that our habitual patterns have inherent musical qualities, and that daily rhythms might form an emergent portrait of an individual.