Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Shot of Adrenaline?

A good friend of mine, Evan Adams, called me up a few weeks ago and asked if I would be interested in doing some slide work on a song he was recording for his soon-to-be-released EP. This kinda struck me funny, first that I would get a call from someone wanting ME to do SLIDE work on a song, second because Evan is a country artist. Now, country isn't new territory to me–I did that Tim Murphy show that one time in 2009–but I am not that proficient in the genrĂ©, something I guess I need to work on, but that's a different story altogether. The oddest part was someone asking me to do slide work for them. My slide-playing style is more a mish-mash of what NOT to do when playing with a slide.

As I said, Evan is a young country artist. I've been watching him progress and grow as a songwriter and performer for the last few years, ever since he burst onto the scene in Tupelo (say that with a straight face), and he's turned into quite the songwriter, as I found out today. Evan's country, and by country, I mean cuuuntry! He's definitely the real deal. And he can sing the cunt out of country music, too. I actually ended up working with him on two songs, both of which will be on the new EP. If you want to know which two I'm on, you'll have to buy the EP and read the liner notes. 

The session today was booked at Adrenaline Audio Studio (YouTube Channel), my second session at this studio. I wish I had pictures of this place, but these guys won't allow pictures of the outside grounds. Something about blowing their camouflage, don't ask me! Let's just say, when you pull up (or down, depending on your point of view) to the studio, you have no idea where the studio is. The studio is actually in the top of a horse barn, and it's got the coolest vibe of any studio I've been in (and I've been in a few). It's out in the middle of Nowhere, MS, so there are no distractions, unless you bring the distractions with you. Hell, there's not even cellphone service inside the studio. Brilliant design.

Robbie Ross was our Producer/Engineer for the day and was a pleasure to work with. He led me along right where he wanted/needed me to go while allowing me to keep myself in what I did (damn guitarists!). He took his time and we got a few really good takes to work with. 

All-in-all, it's been a great day playing music. I took a day and stepped outside of my little Blues Box and had fun with it. Who knows, maybe it'll even sound like I knew what I was doing. Of course, you know me, so you know me better than that.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Do You Think You Have What It Takes?

Those of you who know me personally know that I'm a graphic artist and have been for going on 20 years. I've been pretty successful in my "career" (I used quotes because I see design as my part-time job between gigs!) and have managed to (more or less) support myself and my boys as a designer.

Over the years I have designed some really cool pieces, from logos to business cards to magazine ads, even graphics used on local television, and I look back proud of my work. As you can guess, all design work for the Project is by me.

Foosh's wife, Deb, is always around with a camera and she has the most amazing eye for photography. She'll walk around and take sometimes hundreds of pictures, and there are always quite a few "usable" stills to choose from to generate ideas for some of the designs I do. It's nice having a large pot to choose from, especially with design. She just let's me have at them when she's done. Love that woman!

Most of the time, inspiration for a design comes pretty quick, like the Project logo. I have about 10 minutes worth of work in the logo design, and I think it's probably one of my best designs. I'm probably biased, though.

Sometimes, though, the ideas don't come flooding to you, as is the case with a t-shirt (remember, Kevin, there is an R in the word shiRt!) design for the band. I have had a few mediocre ideas, but for the most part they've all been crap, so I've decided to turn to you.

That's right, I'm announcing a KWP T-Shirt Design Contest. Design us a shirt that you'd love to wear to spread the love about the blues and the Project. Post a pic of your designs in the comments section of this blog post and the guys and I will choose the coolest ones to decide on. As far as rules go, let's keep it G rated (ok, PG) and let's stick to one or 2 colors, unless you just have an epic idea, in which case, go for it! Anyone that knows me knows I would.

If you need any resources at all, drop me a line at kevin (at) And be sure to share this with your friends. The more the merrier. We'll see what we can come up with for prizes, in addition to their name being on the shirt. There's no pressing rush on this project at the moment, so take your time and wow me! Good luck and I look forward to seeing your designs.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Portrait Of A Quitter.

Hello, my name is Kevin, and I'm an addict.

(Everyone say 'Hello, Kevin')

I smoked my first cigarette August 9, 1993, at 12:22 PM. It was a Monday, the week before my 21st birthday, and I had had a bad day at work. At lunch, I went and bought a pack of Marlboro Lights. I smoked maybe 5 cigarettes that day, but that single action started a habit that has become pretty damn hard to kick. 

Let me just put this out there: I love smoking. For me, it's one of the most relaxing things in the world to do when things are falling apart all around me. I can just light one up, and for the next 3-10 minutes, nothing else in the world matters. Nothing beats a smoke after a good meal (or other extra-curricular activities! Don't act like y'all don't know what I'm talking about!).

I had been contemplating starting for a few months before I actually started! Yes, you read that right, I PLANNED my addiction. I was (and still am) a big fan of the smoker/whiskey drinker voice, that raspy sound, and the quickest way to get it was to become a smoker/whiskey drinker. The whiskey didn't agree with me; I found myself in quite a few predicaments with no recollection of how I arrived there, so I gave it up. I'm sure if it could communicate, my liver would say thank you. 

As I said, I started smoking Marlboro Lights but quickly moved to Marlboro Reds when the Lights started feeling like sucking on a straw. I stayed with the Reds for a few years, but eventually moved to Camel Lights; a light cigarette that was as strong as a Marlboro Red! I've been a loyal Camel Light smoker for the better part of 21 years.

Lately, I've really been thinking a lot about my future. Recently, I lost another friend to lung cancer, and it kinda opened my eyes to this whole smoking thing. I've tried to quit before. Made it 4 months one time, but it ended the night I got hit in the side of the head by the hardcover edition of "What To Expect When You're Expecting" (long story, don't ask). Since then, I have been smoking a pack and a half to two packs a day. A healthy addiction! 

As of June 1st, I've instituted my new and improved Stop Smoking In 20 Days Program. It basically works like this. I have a fresh, unopened pack for the morning. Whatever I don't smoke from that day is lost and not carried over to the next. Each morning, I open a new pack and remove the number corresponding to the date. Today is the 5th, so I removed 5 cigarettes from my pack this morning. This is all I'm allowed today, so smoke them with careful planning. Tomorrow I remove 6, 7 on the seventh, and so on until June 20th, my first day without a cigarette in 21 years. I've chosen to wean myself off this way as it's the least scary way I can find and it actually provides a way for me to stay on track. Cold turkey makes me lose friends and influence enemies, or worse, so that's a no go.

I've been hesitant to announce this for fear of failure, but I really want to quit this time, so I'm asking for everyone's support. So far, I'm 5 days in and the last couple of days have been really hard. To go from 2 packs a day to under a pack has been decent progress, but the next 15 days will be the true test of my willpower. I'm determined to give this a solid go, the absolute best I can to quit a disgusting habit that I never should have started.

I've commandeered the Primary Control Computer from Double Wide Studio since my laptop took another crap, this time for good, so maybe I can stay busy with this blog thing. I've made it this far, and talking about smoking has kept my mind off of wanting a cigarette, so maybe this just might work. I'll let you know.

But now, it's time for a cigarette.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Albums? Wouldn't You Love To Know.

I thought it would be cool to make a playlist on Spotify of my Top 10 Favorite Albums for you, and instead of just posting it, thought I would explain it to you. Now, keep in mind, this is just MY opinion, so don't come after me with the wet noodles if you don't agree. I prefer listening to albums when I listen to music, prefer to hear it in context, the way the artist intended. So, without delay, here is my Top 10 List, in order.

1. Blood On the Tracks - Bob Dylan
In my opinion, this is Dylan's masterpiece. Every song is on a greatest hits album, and for good reason. Listen to "Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts" and tell me you can't see every scene. You can't.

2. Ian Moore - Ian Moore
Ian is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Austin, Texas, and I came across this album totally by accident. I walked into Album Alley (remember that place?) one Friday evening and just offhandedly asked Stanley, "Anything worth a crap come out this week?" He pitched me a store demo and said give it a listen. I listened to it the following Monday at work and returned it that Monday evening to buy my own copy. Another album where there isn't a bad song on it, from the first bit of slide guitar on "Nothing" to the soul-inflected vocals and lead in "Carry On," this album totally satisfies me.

3. First Rays Of the New Rising Sun - Jimi Hendrix
The album Hendrix was working on at his death. Plus, it's a Top 10 Album list and that requires a Hendrix album, right? "Hey Baby (New Rising Sun)" is probably my fav on this album, though "Dolly Dagger" always makes me think of my friend Mitzie D.

4. Born Under A Bad Sign  - Albert King
Albert King at Stax in Memphis. 'Nuff said! Listen to "The Hunter" and try to convince me Paul Stanley isn't a thief!

5. Sweet Potato Pie - Robert Cray
This is the first Robert Cray album I ever bought, and it's still my favorite. The opener "Nothing Against You" gets me going every time. So soulful and effortless is his guitar playing. If you haven't seen Robert live yet, put it on your Bucket List. You won't be disappointed.

6. Sweet Tea - Buddy Guy
Buddy recorded this album of mostly Burnside/Kimbrough covers in Oxford, Mississippi, and released possibly his best album ever. The album is dark-sounding, but it works. "Done Got Old," "Tramp," and "I Gotta Try You Girl" are good starting points.

7. My Baby Don't Tolerate - Lyle Lovett
This is my "Sunday Morning" album, you know, for when the hangover is almost too much, and you don't want something rocking, but you need something to kinda pull you into recovery, if only until the next weekend. Just go ahead and listen to the whole album. It's worth it.

8. The Bonnie Raitt Collection - Bonnie Raitt
Have I ever mentioned that I'm a sucker for redheads? Well, this one's not only a looker, but she's a picker, singer, and can shame most guitarist, regardless of gender, on slide. A couple of are Randy Newman's "Guilty" or "Louise."

9. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs - Derek and The Dominos
Like Hendrix, every Top 10 Album List must contain either Clapton or Allman, so I just included both. Another good "Sunday Morning" album, believe it or not. You can't feel bad when it's playing.

10. Under The Wishing Tree - Charlie Sexton Sextet
This one is a rarity, apparently. I bought it used off Amazon in 2006, and paid $30 for the CD then. To me, it's that good. Tried to find the album on Spotify, but all I was able to find are the four songs from the Millennium Collection compilation. The album rocks!

Well, there you have it. My very own Top 10 Album list. This post was kind of long, so I'm guessing not many of you made it this far down. If you did, congratulations! You've been introduced to some of the albums that influence me on a daily basis. If I've managed to turn you on to something new, leave a comment and let me know.