Radio Bean 04.01.14

Fun night. Tried some new things, not all of which are successful; for example, if I’m going to play songs in different tunings, I really need to develop some witty stage banter. Otherwise it’s just me looking like I’m silently drooling for a minute. Maybe I should ask the audience questions or something.  I don’t know. I just like to sing songs.

Set list:

  1. Redemption on Pearl
  2. Ordinary Day
  3. A Jerk’s Lament
  4. That Person Aside You
  5. Dogs at the Door
  6. You Know
  7. A Change is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke)
  8. The Pentophobe
  9. Gravity
  10. The Meanest Thing I’ll Ever Write
  11. We Get Over
  12. The Interrogator (enhanced)
  13. Internet Famous

Radio Bean 03.07.14

For some reason, singing at Radio Bean is easier than singing at home. Maybe it’s because I have a sound system with some reverb as opposed to my rather dry-sounding office. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to worry about waking the kids or disturbing the wife (who would never complain if I did) and I can really let loose. Maybe it’s just the extra energy I get from playing in front of a crowd. Whatever the reason, singing at Radio Bean is different, easier than singing at home, which is kind of weird.

And it’s weird when there are people in front of me who are having conversations with good friends and they need to speak up to hear each other and they want to enjoy my music but they also want to enjoy each other’s company.

And hell, standing up in front of people and playing guitar and singing songs that I’ve spent years and years crafting and practicing; reviewing every single word to make sure it’s the right one (or at least the most right one) to convey the right feeling or message is weird.

And sometimes the weirdness is overwhelming. And I can usually just push through the overwhelming weirdness, but tonight I couldn’t. I had to stop in the middle of a song, recognize the weird, and make my way slowly back into that space where singing in front of people is one the great joys of my life.

Weird, right?

But it turned out alright. At the end I felt good. A young woman asked me who wrote one of the songs I sang (it was me!), which is one of the highest compliments anyone can usually give me. Another said that she loved listening and was going to go find my music on iTunes. (She also couldn’t believe that my last name was Busker – her reality was a bit… enhanced, shall we say). And an old high school friend attended and said she will come again with friends.

So it was good. Weirdness be damned!

The Set List:

  1. For Milly – With Mostly Squalor
  2. Redemption on Pearl
  3. Feeling Good (Newley/Bricusse)
  4. Mind This Mind
  5. Gravity
  6. Rehearsing Our Goodbyes
  7. Stupid Lullaby
  8. All the Same to You
  9. Jesus in Chains
  10. While Watching the Window
  11. Ordinary Day
  12. That Person Aside You
  13. My Fear of Losing You

So thanks everyone for coming. Next show is at Radio Bean on April 1 where I will be your fool.

Radio Bean 02.01.14

The first show of 2014 and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it went… well I could be more pleased, but only because I’m a miserable bastard.

I kid, though. The crowd was wonderful – I think this is most attentive crowd I’ve ever seen and I even captured a few of the folks who were there to see the band that played before me. They were called Peg House – a drummer and a guitarist with some very tight harmonies and a very enthusiastic crowd.

Anyway, here’s tonight’s set list:

  1. Ordinary Day
  2. Dogs at the Door
  3. Redemption on Pearl
  4. Stupid Lullaby
  5. Jesus in Chains
  6. All the Same to You
  7. That Person Aside You
  8. A Jerk’s Lament
  9. Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers cover)
  10. Mind This Mind
  11. Gravity
  12. My Fear of Losing You
  13. Internet Famous

As I said earlier, the crowd was great. A few people even got up and danced during “Ain’t No Sunshine”… Actually that was kind of weird for me, but my previous experience informs me that people dancing is generally a good thing.

Speaking of dance, I had The Buskerettes in full effect this evening, once again bringing the moves and making up for the fact that I have the looks of a baby troll. Radio Bean even captured a video. I would post a link to it, but it’s late and I’m lazy. I’ll share it on Facebook if you’re interested.

I really had a lovely evening and can’t wait to do it again on March 7.

Lastly, I’m pretty sure Joe Adler wore a coat and tie for me. He’ll probably deny it, but we know better.

Milton Busker on How to Win!

Hi there. I’m Milton. Milton Busker. I’d like to take a moment of your time to tell you about this fantastic offer that’s available to anyone that feels like winning. Do you feel like winning? I know you do.

“But Milton, how do I win so hard like you do?”

Easy kids. You attend one of my patented “Milton Busker Sings in Your General Direction” seminars. It’s forty-five to sixty minutes of me, Milton Busker, singing in your general direction and it gives you the power to do something with your life. Something like win.

“But where can I find the next ‘Milton Busker Sings in Your General Direction’ seminar”

I’m glad you asked. The seminars occur all over one location in Burlington, VT. Radio Bean. The next one is February first at 8PM. I guarantee that it will be practically winning with the winningest win you’ve ever winned. Win.

Win.

Win.

with Milton.

http://www.facebook.com/events/1396766337239558

Radio Bean 12.27.13 and 2013 in review

So here it is: almost 2014. Time to reflect on the past year and take stock, right? Right. Here’s what was awesome about 2013:

  1. Radio Bean.
    I resolved to play out more, so starting earlier this year I booked 1 show per month at Radio Bean. Lee Anderson and Joe Adler are such strong supporters of local art and if it weren’t for them, I would have no place to play for people.
  2. Dance Songs, Vol. II+
    This past summer I realized that I was not going to finish enough new recordings by the end of the year to release the full length album that I’m slooooooooowly putting together. And then I realized that I had this old 4-song EP that I had never officially released. And then I remembered that I had two other songs I recorded around the same time sitting on my hard drive. So I pulled them all together and released a digital album this past September, which leads me to…
  3. Dance Songs, Vol. II+ gets a positive review in the Seven Days.
    If you’re not from VT, you probably don’t care about local paper Seven Days. But you should. It’s a good paper. And music reviewer extraordinaire Dan Bolles said he liked my album. I like to say that I write, record, and release music for my own benefit, and while that is true, a really nice review in VT’s most widely read arts magazine is pretty fan-fucking-tastic.
    Dance Songs, Vol. II+ on Seven Days
  4. Ordinary Day – The Music VideoMy friend John made Ordinary Day into a music video. I really like it. Go watch it again, yes?

  5. The Precipice Music Festival
    Ok, it was a bit of a bummer that the acoustic tent was really acoustic (no sound system), but that doesn’t take anything away from the 3 day music festival featuring local music that I got to be a part of this past July. It was amazing and reinforces the awesomeness of Lee Anderson and Joe Adler.
  6. My family. awwwwwwww. They’re really #1, but since this is a music blog, I have to demote them a little.
  7. My fans.
    I would rather have the small group of thoughtful, dedicated fans that I have today than a gigantic throng of sycophants and worshipers… … … ha, ha, I almost made it through that with a straight face. I would love a lot more fans. But I did mean it when I called you thoughtful and dedicated. Y’all make me happy.

Now, how about stuff that didn’t go so hot this year? I just have one; my old friend Mike “Meistah” Deutsch died unexpectedly this fall. He will be dearly missed by those who knew him.

As for 2014, I have a good feeling about it. I’m really hoping to finish enough recordings to release an LP. I have a title all picked out and everything. I just need to finish a few more songs…

Now then I mentioned Radio Bean in the title and I did play there this evening. The set list:

  1. Gravity
  2. Ordinary Day
  3. Jesus In Chains
  4. Drones
  5. We Get Over
  6. A Jerk’s Lament
  7. The Pentophobe
  8. Rehearsing Our Goodbyes
  9. Let You Down
  10. Mind This Mind
  11. All the Same to You
  12. Things Behind the Sun
  13. The Interrogator (enhanced)
  14. Glad to See You Go

Really excellent crowd tonight, and the Buskerettes were in rare form; bringing the eye candy and comic relief. I’ll try and get a video of their antics if I can.

I had some pretty obvious mess ups in Let You Down and Things Behind the Sun, but overall I feel good about the performance. I need to practice more. Or play out more. Perhaps both.

I also ran into Tim Lewis, a Burlington-music aficionado, DJ for WBKM, and blogger. He’s played my music on his radio show and said some nice things about me on his blog, so it was nice to meet him. And then he sent me this: Tim’s Triangle Tribune – Milton Busker at Radio Bean

Pretty sweet. Overall a good night to cap off a good year. I hope you all have a wonderful 2014!

Radio Bean 11.26.13

I’m about a day late with this post. I contracted a cold and desperately needed sleep after last night’s show, and then I spent the day making the homestead ready for the Glorious Day of Gravy (I believe normal people call it Thanksgiving).

Set list from last evening:

  1. Ordinary Day
  2. Jesus In Chains
  3. All the Same to You
  4. A Jerk’s Lament
  5. For Milly – With Mostly Squalor
  6. How to Disappear Completely
  7. Dogs at the Door
  8. The Pentophobe
  9. Rehearsing Our Goodbyes
  10. Gravity
  11. Mind This Mind
  12. My Fear of Losing You
  13. Big River

As I mentioned earlier, I have a cold. Luckily it started yesterday so the voice wasn’t too bad for the show. I had to struggle on a couple of the high notes, but I think it sounded ok. No one complained to my face.

AND I was able to stay after the show to watch some of the Honky Tonk Tuesday. All I can say about it is DAAAAAAMN! Brothers can play! Do yourself a favor and get out there some night. It’s a five piece outfit – drums, upright bass, fiddle, guitar, pedal steel. They are tight and they are fun. Go see them. Totally worth it. I didn’t stick around as long as I had hoped because my stamina was quickly deteriorating, but I did get to hear them play George Jones’ “White Lightning”.

Seriously, go see them.

My next show is December 27. It’s an early one – 7-7:45PM. I may have something special planned for it… stay tuned.

Radio Bean Birthday and Elvis Costello

Yeah, you read the title right. ELVIS COSTELLO! More on that later.

Every year, Radio Bean hosts a daylong bash to celebrate the anniversary of their opening. They’ve done 13 of them, and I for one am hoping for many, many, many more.

The Radio Bean has carved out a very special place in the Burlington music scene – they have live music pretty much every day and are willing to give just about anyone an opportunity to perform for an audience. While they can’t offer much in the way of cash to the folks that play, they offer a free drink and a serious discount on the food. They also have a “hat” for tips and if you plan it right, bring in a good crowd, and keep reminding folks, you can pull in enough for gas and dinner.

Anyway, I will personally be eternally grateful to them because they have single-handedly kept me performing live by setting me up with shows and asking me to their special events like The Precipice Festival and their birthday celebration. And it is quite the celebration. Two stages. 60-something different artists starting at 8AM and running until who knows when. They also serve free coffee and pancakes all day.

Because of the number of artists playing throughout the day, everyone gets about a 10-15 minute set. Mine was supposed to start at 2, but got pushed to around 2:30 because of delays earlier in the day. I played two songs, War Pigs and Mind This Mind. I played War Pigs to honor “Meistah” Mike Deutsch, who died earlier this year. He was a huge supporter of Radio Bean and an old friend from my Currently Nameless days (and he set me up with an apartment many years ago). He was also quite the metal-head with a special place in his heart for Black Sabbath. Radio Bean’s proprietor Lee Anderson had dedicated the celebration to him earlier that morning and seemed to appreciate my humble tribute. As for Mind This Mind, it’s a bluesy/jazzy number that generally plays really well in front of new audiences, thus the second song.

One of the really cool things about the Birthday Bash is that there are so many artists playing for such a short time that it ends up being something of a showcase where you can check out a bunch of different acts that perhaps you wouldn’t have taken the time to go see at their own show. The folks that went before me were all pretty great and I wish I had been able to stay after my set was over, but given how late I started, I had to leave.

AND THEN I SAW ELVIS COSTELLO AT THE FLYNN!!!!

What can I say? The man is an incredibly inventive songwriter, an excellent singer, and not too shabby on the guitar. It was a solo show and lasted about two hours. He didn’t play everything that I had hoped he would (I was really hoping for So Like Candy, Veronica, and Oliver’s Army) but he did Everyday I Write the Book, Alison, and Accidents Will Happen, among many others. The highlight for me was Beyond Belief. I love that song. Love it.

So after Elvis was done, I figured I would head back to Radio Bean to see who was playing and get some of that free coffee before heading home. I was stopped at the door. Radio Bean was at maximum capacity and you had to wait to get in.

Good for them. They deserve it.

I didn’t want to wait so I went home.

Pretty fantastic day.

Radio Bean 10.26.13

Another night at the Bean, and I gotta say I felt pretty good about this show. The crowd was fantastic, primarily because the artist who went before me stuck around. His name was Chris Velan and I was really impressed with his set. He’s got a Boss recording pedal and uses it to layer different guitar parts on top of each other to excellent effect. He also sang a few songs with Ria Mae and they sounded lovely. Lastly, he has a real easy stage presence that I marvel at. Why can’t everyone be awkward and mumbly like me?

Anyway, I also had The Buskerettes on stage with me, and they really brought the eye candy. True, one of the them is five and just makes faces at the audience and the other one is eight and plays her DS on stage throughout the entire set, but they’re much nicer to look at than me.

Tonight’s set:

  1. Gravity
  2. Ordinary Day
  3. Jesus In Chains
  4. Angeles
  5. Pitseleh
  6. Dogs at the Door
  7. The Meanest Thing I’ll Ever Write
  8. Rehearsing Our Goodbyes
  9. Mind This Mind
  10. Glad to See You Go
  11. I Put a Spell on You
  12. War Pigs

I missed the Elliott Smith Memorial Celebration at Radio Bean last week, so I had to throw a couple of his songs into the set. I do Angeles pretty straight, but Pitseleh is an interpretation. It’s out on SoundCloud if you’re interested in taking a listen.

And yes, that is Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. It doesn’t sound like Sabbath, though. It sounds like me covering Sabbath. If I can get someone to capture a video of me playing it, maybe I’ll post it for Halloween.

It was a good night. I was very grateful to the Bean for letting me take the stage and allowing my daughters to share it with me. Next show is Tuesday, November 26. I’ll have to learn some Turkey-themed songs…

#tweetingPandora

Here’s something I do every Friday that, I just realized, I have never explained. Perhaps it needs no explanation, but I’ve learned recently that my communication methods can lead to multiple interpretations. Go figure.

So every Friday, around noon I take a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle and listen to the Radio. But not just any radio – I listen to Pandora radio.

Now as a working musician, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the service; I hate that they pay musicians (the whole reason people use the service) a pittance and I hate that I’m not on there. Search for Milton Busker and you get bubkis and while I’m sure bubkis is a fine band, they’re not Milton Busker. If you want to get better informed about the service and how it’s not exactly the best thing to happen to musicians, David Lowry is your man. It’s eye-opening stuff.

So why do I still use it? It’s very good at what it does – which is creating interesting and relevant playlists related to artists or songs. And I’m optimistic that they will find a way to work with artists to update their pay policies to be more equitable to those who are providing their content. Also, you just might find out about artists you’ve never heard of and start patronizing them, which is one of the arguments I find most convincing (although I’ve never seen any hard evidence about it). Lastly, it’s not Napster or bittorrent.

So I’ve chosen to accept the cognitive dissonance that is Pandora and every Friday I create a radio station based on one artist or song. I then go where Pandora leads me and Tweet the results in real time; I don’t influence the playlist or skip songs. If the music is annoying or rankly offensive or Journey I listen through to the end. If the music is amazing I don’t hit the ‘thumbs up’ to get more like it. I just let it flow and document the results. My goal is to describe the experience in 140 characters. To boil down the essence of the song, the listening experience, and my state of mind to its purest form… and to have fun at the expense of people who are more successful (or just better publicized) than me.

I take suggestions about on whom (or what song) I base the radio station and having folks follow along and interacting is my favorite.

So how do you know I’m #tweetingPandora and not just listening to music? Well, the tweets are always structured as follows:
“Artist. Song Title. Comments #tweetingPandora”

If you follow me on Twitter (if you don’t, why not?) or ‘Like’ me on Facebook, you’ll be a part of the fun. And that’s it. #tweetingPandora explained.