Hey, I’m trying to step away from social media, which has reminded me that I have this blog. My musical life has picked up a bit in the last couple of years, and I thought I would throw out an update here just for fun.

Me at Abbey Road on the River 2019 Photo by Paul Martin

In early 2018 I started playing keyboards in a Beatles cover band called The English Rain. Sorry to brag, but these guys are really good, and I work hard to keep up with them. No, we don’t dress up in wigs and suits; we just try to recreate the original sound as faithfully as possible. This means Epiphones, Gretsches, Rickenbackers, a Hofner bass, and lots of attention to vocal harmonies. We usually have a regular monthly outdoor gig in downtown Franklin through the summer, but this year, for obvious reasons, we did not.

To keep ourselves entertained during the lockdown, we made a few quarantine home performance videos of some of our favorite 70s and 80s tunes. We used the name “The Shut-Inz” so people wouldn’t think The English Rain had given up on The Beatles. Yes, I am trying to avoid social media, but if you’re still playing that game you can see these videos on our Facebook page and/or our YouTube channel. The sound is better on YouTube, but on Facebook there are also some live stream replays if you’re into that kind of thing.

Since this is offically a software blog, I’ll mention that I have done a good bit of coding for my laptop-based keyboard rig. Sometimes I don’t have quite enough hands to cover all the parts and have to use a little magic. This is how I have approached “Martha My Dear” and “The Long and Winding Road,” and I’m still trying to figure out how to make “Honey Pie” happen. Maybe I’ll write more about that later.

I have also been playing keyboards with a theme-driven band called The Decades. They are a talented bunch of twenty-somethings with an inexplicable knowledge of and affection for the music of my generation. This is the least efficient band possible; so far each gig has had a completely different set list, hardly ever recycling anything. It’s a lot of work, but it never gets boring. Thus far we have done:

  • 70s and 80s Classic Rock
  • 90s Radio Pop
  • Christmas Tunes
  • Country Originals
  • Disco!
  • Movie Songs

These band endeavors have also led to the opportunity for me to do a little session work, which I have not done in many, many years. I am very fortunate at my age to be still learning and growing in the things that I love. It was the hope of doing these kinds of things that drew me to Nashville in the first place. I’m still happy to be here.

Whatever it is that you love to do outside of work, I hope you’re finding or making opportunities to do it. Have fun out there, and please stay safe!