I am happy to announce the release of my newest CD called "Proof Of A promise". Self-produced and recorded at my own Rue Voltaire studio this is my first instrumental only album.
"Proof Of A Promise" features 10 original songs (pared down from 20). Recorded over 3 months early in 2010 this is also my first ever full-length self-recorded project. The songs range in style from solo guitar work to more heavily produced studio efforts. A few adjectives I’ve heard from the few who have had first listening include: "warm", "cohesive", "imaginative" and "fun".
This work highlights my acoustic guitar and Dobro playing in a variety of settings and styles.
Mixed by long time friend and collaborator Chris Eckman and mastered by Denis Blackham, the 6-panel digi-pak also features a striking presentation with original photographs from French photographer Franck Betermin and design by Norwegian graphic artist Håvard Gjelseth.
For "Proof Of A Promise": If you live in Europe you will be able to order the CD directly from me for 12€ including postage or 8€ for high quality digital downloads (including a PDF of the front cover).
I will sign and number the first 200 copies as an incentive. Also you can order the CD directly from the Glitterhouse Records mail- order catalogue.
We are currently hard at work in putting online a web-store for the TerryLeeHale.com web page. I’ve long wanted to offer my friend’s digital downloads directly and that will be coming soon. I have a lot of interesting and unreleased music which I’d like to share with everyone. And along with that we will put up digital downloads of the whole TLH back catalogue. We hope to have this store up and running in the next week or two. The first offering will be "Proof Of A Promise". Please stay tuned here for more information.
Vacation Postcard, Sept. 2010 - Sanary Sur Mer
Hi everyone -
A postcard/note from the south of France. I hope you are well and have had a good and memorable summer (in the good way of course!).
Katy and I are on our vacation now in the south of France on the Mediterranean Sea. We have been coming to this wonderful place for 4 or 5 years now and it's pretty great. We delayed our normal vacation time this year from July until now for a couple reasons. The main one being that we decided it was silly to leave Paris when it is usually the best weather time there. Why when it's the nicest right? Plus there are millions of people vacationing down here in July and it's very hot! Plus Paris is relatively quiet in July (because everyone is in the south duh) and it's nice to take advantage of that. So here we are now. Normally Sanary sur Mer is a high rent city with lot's of wealthy retired folks living around and we could never afford to vacation here (600€ per week for a 2 bedroom flat is standard rate) except that her Mom's husband has a nice apartment here where they kindly let us stay while they visit in the northland of France to escape the summer heat here (they'll return here right as we leave). Well, we like the heat here now as Paris is definitely cooling off and, in fact it's raining there even as I write this. It was about 80 here today and blue sky all the way.
Room with a view - Sanary
The produce here is absolutely wonderful too… lot's of fresh fruit and vegetables and we take advantage of the seafood from the Mediterranean Sea. It tastes quite different from Pacific or Atlantic seafood as well so it's an added bonus to be able buy it freshly caught like we do. It's not cheap but what freshly caught seafood is? Also the local Bandol wine is wonderful!!
On the music front the solo instrumental project "Proof Of A Promise" is completed. To say that it's taken longer then I thought it would is an understatement. I have not been fooling around either. I started recording last February and finished in May. After that it took some time to get it mixed and mastered (different places and countries) and even more time to figure out the artwork and then to get it designed. I also had to search where to get it pressed and so here we are in September. Well, I say it's finished. I guess I should knock on wood because both the audio and visual files are not yet at the mastering plant but they are on the way.
Anyway, this was always going to be a solo project for me and I don't want to complain about all the work involved with bringing this to fruition. I've had considerable help on all fronts from my usual posse of friends as well so I have not been working totally in a vacuum. I must say though, it been a hell of a lot of work and it's still far from over. I now have to figure out how to promote and sell it, as basically I'm my own record company with this project. (I think I understand now why most record company owners are EX-musicians!). Also I still want to start up a web store through my site here to be able to offer this new CD and all the rest of the stock that I have both digitally and otherwise. I need to get all of my music online digitally for sure. It's silly not to off that in this iPod world. I mean not everyone is a thief so why not give the folks the chance to pay me directly hmm?
Wait until the next post and then there will be all the information that you need to get your very own copy of "Proof Of A Promise". It's pretty good if I do say so myself. An instrumental Terry Lee Hale music CD. At long last!
Congratulations to a great football team and their victory for the world cup. The most deserved team and it was a pleasure to watch their progression through the tournament. My heartfelt best wishes to the team and their country for a much deserved and waited for victory!! Bravo!!!!
jUst wanted to get the word out to Europe about this cool band Kulturshock that's performing mostly in the south but anyway - be sure to check them out. Also one of my all time favorite Seattle artists Amy Denio own home page is outstanding. She's a wonderfully talented, vibrant and gifted woman. Get your brain washed out and check out her music. Just what you're needing...
Summertime Blues 06.04.10
Hey ho, hidey ho…
Just handed over 3 months of session files to Chris Eckman for mixing a couple days ago. I had no idea when this entire project started last February that it would take this long or be so frigging complicated. I felt better though after Chris told me that his most excellent solo project “Last Side Of The Mountain” took 11 months! What have I to complain about right? Of course our liner notes are not the same BUT what is the same for both of us is that we did this at home and ‘”LIFE” happens at home.
There can (nor should the be) be no disassociation. Your partner, the garden, shopping, visits with friends, movies, dishes, music business and all the rest just need to be attended to and taken care of. In my case I will say that a new computer, recording software (an upgrade to Pro Tools 8), some new microphones and hardware all made for a very big load to shoulder in order to get up and running. Of course the “proof will be in the pudding” as they say and I've no idea about what anyone will say or think about this.
Hell, I haven't even heard from Chris yet so I've no idea if what I've created has any worth or not. I “think” it's pretty good but that's just the creator speaking. In fact I've just been listening to a recent purchase of a very fine solo recording project of (mostly) just 12-string guitar music by current Dirt Music alum Chris Brokaw “VDSG- Solo Acoustic Volume Three”. I was thinking how very great it was sounding. From what I can tell anyway it's comprised of no more than 3 or 4 tracks, one or 2 microphones and some great playing and songs. Maybe next time I should think more along these lines? I guess we'll find out.
Your webmaster visiting the studio
Speaking of: I guess it'll be the fall sometime when we'll be able to offer this to folks for listening. I'm still looking for a name too although I do have a couple good ideas. Stay tuned…
May 2, 2010 - I hope you're not getting bored with my tardy updates and seeming lack of movement from here lately. Nothing could be further from the truth actually. On the recording front I'm about 2 steps away from being finished with all my parts. This means the writing, recording and editing. Chris Eckman will mix the songs for me in June and after that there will be mastering to do. I suppose we're looking at being able to offer this for listening by September. I'm looking to find a way for print up a few hundred Cd's as well as being able to offer it digitally from this site.
I will say that this whole project has gone on WAY longer then I anticipated. I'd no idea I'd be sitting here now in early May and still not be finished. Just goes to show I guess. I started the actual recording back in February.
I've been using Protools, which is my digital recording medium. For the uninitiated this basically means that I'm recording into my computer via the digital program Protools that is recording and editing software. I also have some hardware preamps, compressors, microphones, and monitors etc., which make up my Rue Voltaire home studio. The only thing is that using Protools is not as easy as just setting up a microphone and turning on a tape recorder. I liken it to learning how to speak a new language and new languages are difficult. Basically the point here is that the main reason this has all taken so long is that my skills with this recording medium were minimal and so time was needed. I am moving forward though, learning a hell of a lot and feeling pretty good about myself on top of it all. As my friend Larry Crane (Tape Op magazine) told me one time, "good musicians can usually make good recordings. It's about listening". I might add the word patience here as well.
Anyway- I'm very positive about what I've done so far. The few folks that have heard the songs definitely think there is a marked improvement on past efforts (at home recording that is). I've whittled the songs down from around 24 to the current 13 and I've still to lose one more (and why 12 seems to be THE number for recorded music is a good question. Mostly it has to do with time and attention span I suspect).
My working title has been “The Buddha Sessions”. Why Buddha Sessions? I was trying to remind myself to stay calm, take deep breaths when frustrated and, frankly, to try and surround myself with some helpful energy. Anyway, this doesn't mean that it's the final title but between you and me, I kind of like it.
UPDATED UPDATE: Today is May 11 and I will be finished with it all (or all I can do from here that is) tomorrow latest (knock on wood). I'm really ready to move on to other things. First thing on the list: relearn to be friends again with my long neglected guitars! Yippee!!
BTW: Dayna Kurtz is a fine vocalist and songwriter and I DO own her records.
03.26.10 Spring Update
Hello everyone -
Spring is here again and happy are we! It was a long winter for us in Paris. And you? Seems from what I heard from around the planet that it was pretty much the same. And not just speaking about the weather either.
USA: President Obama has almost single handedly drug America kicking and screaming into the group of nations where quality of life triumphs over corporate profits, the insurance monopolies and greed. Health care for the poor, the sick and aged and just about anyone if they want it. It's not going to be free though - but the way it is now, it's truly bankrupting the country! What a strange concept for the Americans. To read the blogs coming out of that country you'd think the end of world had arrived. This is a mail from a friend of mine in a recent dialogue we had about the fascistic rhetoric and violence that abounds stateside. His mail expresses quite clearly my thoughts on the current demagoguery that clogs the airways: “… And how working people in America can buy into all of this shit is beyond me...the ignorance is deep and frankly inexcusable. They have been duped but they allow themselves to be. The narcotic of hate that is spewed by Fox news every night into their living rooms is somehow more desirable to them than making sure that diabetic children are not denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. It is all beyond comprehension”.
This certainly is not the end of the story by any means but it was an important first step. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has tried to bring universal health care to America. I am one of millions and millions of people from all over the world that applaud our president and those members of congress who did the right thing and forgot (for a moment anyway) about the politics of it all. Bravo!! I say vote those other conservative naysayer's out of their jobs and lets get on with the business once again of enshrining the principle that “all men and women are created equal!” America must be about more then how much money you have in your pocket!
HOME: I've been trying to get into the garden and get the soil turned and ready for seed but the weather has been terribly wet and makes any kind of digging almost impossible. Last year I planted radishes on the first day of April. Not going to happen this year I know!
Home studio in Paris
MUSIC: I've just concluded basic tracking of about 20+ songs or so. To be honest, I'm not exactly sure what I have it's good! It was 6 weeks of almost daily recording so maybe 20 songs isn't all that many but anyway that's what it is. I had a good time though if not challenging. It felt great to be creating and recording new music! As you might expect, it's quite a mixed bag. Slow, quiet, old timey, bluesy, traditional, modern and ambient and some loop driven, devil beats as well. I did try to keep it honest though. It's all played live so I can bring it to the stage. I am planning to release this myself from my own soon to be posted web store, which we will get to after this recording is finished. I guess we'll probably press some CD's for those of you that want them versus digital versions.
It's going to be something like 12-14 songs. Again, this is all instrumental and that means being pretty much all guitar music with the occasional percussion, harmonica, melodica, keyboard or drum. So far anyway.
TOURING: I'll be up to Norway again this summer in late August and hopefully just after that over to Finland. I don't have anything else planned at the moment, but again, I've just been doing the recording. It takes a lot of time to book tours. I would never have had time for this recording now if I had to do the booking as well. So, here I sit with no work,but we'll get to have some new TLH music and hopefully the better for it. I can feel a large backlog of words floating around inside as well. Fall booking awaits me though and I can feel the pull believe me! First I gotta get this one done!!
Happy spring everyone!!
2010 Late winter musings…
I'm happy to say that I've begun recording an instrumental only CD here at Rue Voltaire. Seems to be something I can do and perhaps even need to do at this point. This is an album I've always dreamed of making and it's time. No words, just guitar work with perhaps some simple embellishments. 6 and 12-string guitars and of course the Dobro. So far I have 6 or 7 already recorded (not mixed) and I'm quite busy collecting and writing the rest. There are no release plans, label interest or anything of the sort but I'm not at all worried about this either. First thing is to get some good music down on tape (or onto the computer as it were) and after that we'll see. If nothing else, I can sell it off my site and at shows so that's no sweat. I was thinking perhaps of posting some recording diaries but this self recording that I'm doing is a slow go and I don't think it would be all that interesting after a few days of turtle news.
I must say that it's much easier to have an engineer pushing all the buttons but, as you can see from the picture, I've arranged everything so that I can pretty much reach it all from my chair. It's slow though and not having a third ear (i.e. a producer) makes me doubly cautious. Also I'm a latecomer to Protools (which is my recording software) so that slows me down. It sometimes takes me a long time to figure out how to do basic editing or even corrections. As an example: the other day I had somehow ‘grayed' out my record button on track 1 so I couldn't do anymore recording on that track (which I needed to do). I ended up having to go to the Digidesign user forum and write out my problem and it was the next day that someone wrote in suggesting that I do a <control - click> over the offending record button to highlight it again. Yes! Fixed me right up! Anyway, just to show you what it's like around here. Once I'm up and running though it's been going well and I'm having some good moments. I'm happy to be recording again and it's feeling good. I do need to get focused though. I've quite a collection of songs from the past couple of years, which are all over the map stylistically and in various forms of undress. I've got to find a way to bring that all together now into a comprehensive and listenable package.
On a more sober note, I've just finally had to admit to myself that Michael Statsman, the owner and label boss of (now out of business) Borderdreams Records/Dock Distribution had been lying to me for the past 2 years.
The short story: money was supposed to be paid to me in the form of sales figures (a percentage of every record sold) and he was also required (by law!) to pay publishing royalties (also known as mechanicals). More then 2 years after the release of the record I have never received one accounting and I know from my publisher that the mechanical royalties were never paid at the pressing plant. I have had some advance CD's to sell at shows AND to use for promo and so I was able to put a little money in my pocket. Many of those Cd's (more than100+) I gave to the press and used for publicity purposes. And just recently I gave him 500€ more for the rest of his unsold Shotgun Pillowcase inventory (400 CD's) but that was only after he had again assured me that he had paid the money for publishing royalties which, by law, he is required to do (“… you should be collecting that soon”, he said).
How was this possible? In the shark infested waters of the music world I suppose this is a naïve and even stupid question. This is a guy that I trusted and who I even thought of as a friend. But this situation I am describing is not new is it? I've never understood why, when it comes to paying time musicians, on whom the whole pyramid of the music business is built, are the very ones who are last in line to be paid. Read any musician autobiography on the shelf and it's the same story. Now you can add my name to that very long list of artists. ‘nuff said!
Speaking of records: I've heard that Wilderness Years, Frozen and Leaving West are all sold out now at Glitterhouse records and so that is the end of those CD's. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later but I have to say its kind of a drag. I've lived with these records as my friends for long time now. It is strange to think that these CD's will no longer be available for folks to buy and listen to. Some more music for me to put up on the Internet for sure and I am doing that. I've just posted Blue Room and Leaving West on Tune Core and Shotgun Pillowcase has been up for awhile now. The full albums and the downloadable songs should show up at all the various digital music outlets in the early springtime. BTW - please be sure that if you are looking to buy TLH music online that you only purchase songs that identify TuneCore as distributor. There are some unauthorized sellers of my music out there. The names that I know about are Bongo Beat, New Rose, It's About Music and I think there's one more. I appreciate you helping me out here. The digital music world is a place with little oversight or control and it's full of types who knowingly collect and pocket money from the music's rightful owners.
As far as gigging and touring plans go I really haven't spent much time doing it to be honest. As mentioned I've been focused on this recording and by design I've had to pull myself away from the readily available distractions of the computer. Although having access to the Internet from my home office has certainly made booking tours much easier this is also a time gobbler in a major way. Quite literally I could spend 6 hours a day for a weeks just plugged in and to book shows that are months down the road. The point being here that when this recording is finished I will again turn my attentions to touring. Hopefully for next fall. I'm sure I'll be quite ready to get back on stage by then as well.
So - that's the story here from TLH central. I'll post some more recording updates I'm sure so do stop back. Thanks again for your support and I do hope that your winter has been a good one wherever you might be now!
Your friend in music,
Favorite Artist Auto Biographies-
Charles Mingu s- “Beneath The Underdog”
Art Pepper - “Straight Life”
Miles Davis - “Miles-The Autobiography”
Motely Crue - “The Dirt”
Twyla Tharp - “Push Comes To Shove”
Arthur Miller - “Time Bends”
Marianne Faithful - “Faithful”
Bob Dylan - “Chronicles”
Phil Kaufman - “Road Mangler Deluxe”
Marliyn Manson - “The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell”
"Tetro" Written and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Edited by Walter Murch, Music by Osvaldo Golijov. Running time: 127 minutes.
Starring Carmen Maura, Maribel Verdu, Vincent Gallo, Alden Ehrenreich, and Klaus Maria Brandauer.
I liked this movie. In fact it surprised me how much I liked it. Yes, Coppola has had his mega blockbusters but that's definitely not what you're going to see with Tetro. Boldly operatic, this movie is I think very inventive. Almost something like a film school graduate would make. But no film school student could make happen what this master writer and cinematographer bring to screen. Shot mostly in black and white it has a very film noir kind of feel. Visually it's stunning for the most part, a bit raggedy in others yet still the director holds it all together and delivers us to the very end with a casual wave of his hand. It's all here folks. Death, glory, mystery, music, dance, love, family, conflict and resolution. I haven't been able to shake this film from my thoughts for 2 days now and that's good. There's a lot to chew on and that's rare and most welcome. Leave your preconceptions at the door and try to just open yourself to this glorious ride. The master is back!
PS- I read that it was edited all on a Macintosh computer with Final Cut!
Top 8 + 2 = Top 10
Ok, so I'm a little late. A few folks wanted to know why I couldn't get a list up to a top 10. Well not that it matters that much but JUST to be normal here I've included 2 records that I've I think are wonderful although they were NOT released in 2009 (both were from '08). Great records nevertheless.
Sam Phillips "Don't Do Anything".
I probably listened to this record the most last year. Everything (vocals, songwriting, performances, etc.) works on this record but what impresses me most is the production (she produced it too!). It's very NOT business as usual to my mind. You don't find the bass or drums in usual places. The mic's are recording from the back of the amp instead of the usual 12" from the front. On and on. Never a dull moment and the songs… ah the songs. This woman can write a song and that's a fact. I'm a fan of all her work but this record is her best. Mature, slightly ironical and full of life, hope and passion. Must be an interesting gal to know.
John Mellencamp - "Life, Death, Love and Freedom"
This songwriter has been a kind of guilty pleasure for me I but I used to like him a lot a decade or more ago. I just lost interest somewhere along the way. Too much bombast, too many words and not enough "point". Too much smoke and not enough substance to my way of thinking. This new record really brings it all back home though and it's truly awesome. He stripped away all the crap and got down to writing the kinds of great songs like we know he can do. The record is honest and interesting, unflinching and simple, colorful and directed and best of all: clear as bell. This one is a true winner and this guy is back on my "A" list!! I'm glad too! Another record produced by T-bone Burnett BTW. Does this guy have the best producer ears in the business or what?? Check out this new recording medium (CODA) that T-Bone and company have developed. It's like listening to the master tapes on your home stereo. I surely hope they can make it stick!!
I know most folks make a list of ten but I didn't have 10 records so here are 8. Alphabetical order only. The sad note at the end of ‘09 is that Vic Chesnutt took his own life at Christmas. A fucked up and dreary ending to a very, very difficult year.
You might also see here a preponderance of more rootsy Americana type recordings. Not sure why that is because I listen to all kinds of music at home. And I'm not much of one for nostalgia but who knows. Listening to boom-chickachika French rock and roll might be taking its toll. Still, the list is what it is and these were my favorites of the ones I bought that were released from 2009.
Animal Collective - "Merriweather Post Pavilion"
A "strange" CD and one I didn't like at first listening. It took me awhile to come around to it but this record uncovers its mysteries slowly, which is not bad. If you get everything on the first date what's left right? Very ambitious recording I think and with an utterly unique sound and style. Fascinating production and vision. This band changes the rules of the game and that makes me happy! A rich and very rewarding album. I can understand why this one made many critics top ten lists. Something new with every listen. How they do it is another question. I need to see these guys live!
Bill Callahan - "Sometimes I Wish I Were An Eagle"
I knew some of his work with his band Smog but this is the first CD I own by him. I love his songwriting, voice and laid back demeanor. The first track "Jim Cain" is a standout! I think the album wobbles a bit in the middle but still, a noble effort and worthy.
Vic Chesnutt - "At The Cut"
What can I say? Vic's recent death gives this collection of songs a transparency that is poignant, wrenching and utterly compelling. Still, it is yet again a great outing from one of my all time favorite songwriters. Backed by the same musical crew (A Silver Mt. Zion & Fugazi member Guy Picciotto) who also recorded with him on last years powerful “North Star Deserter” this CD is slower in revealing its charms. Still, Vic always finds refreshing ways to guide us into the shadowy corners of his heart, memories and life. Would that he could have followed through what he proclaimed on "Flirted With You All Of My Life". Bored with your current musical diet? Mr. Chesnutt and this mighty band will pump some life into your breast. He will be greatly missed.
Bob Dylan - "Through Life Together"
His 33rd studio album and some folks don't think Dylan's been trying much lately with his focus on roots American music styles. I don't agree at all. He's put together an outstanding band that plays the hell out of these songs. Interestingly enough the lyrics on the record were co-written with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter (except “my wife's home town” co-written with Willie Dixon). I think this co-writing thing gives this recording a little something different then his latest outings and why the hell not? This guy is just getting better and better. I've found this record to be quite addicting.
Buddy & Julie Miller - "Written In Chalk"
A real treat from this man and woman couple. She writes the lyrics, they both sing and play guitar and he produces (just like the Handsome Family couple/team who I also like a lot!). Pretty much straight ahead ‘country/folk' music but great songwriting from top to bottom and excellent performances all around. Business NOT as usual I think.
Willie Nelson - "Willie & The Wheel"
Nothing fancy here: just straight ahead Texas swing music featuring the long lived Asleep At The Wheel. Instead of the baritone voice of Ray Benson "at the drivers wheel" it's Willie Nelson doing the lead vocals. Asleep At the Wheel is the longest running (40 years!) and probably best band of this Texas music on the planet. Great playing by all these musical veterans makes this album a treat to listen to.
Richard Shindell - "Not Far Now"
Speaking of songwriting, this man is the real deal. I'd never really paid much attention to him before but a couple years back I had the chance to be the sound engineer for his Paris show and I really was bowled over. Vocals, guitar & bouzouki playing and lyrics. All top notch. This is my second CD of his and although his recorded music can get a bit "cluttered" by the arrangements (in my opinion of course) I love this guy's warmth, insight and eye for detail.
"Got No Chains - The Songs Of The Walkabouts/Various Artists"
Ok - I got one cut on this record (“Got No Chains” actually) but it's not why I put this on the list. It is truly is an outstanding collection of bands playing covers of The Walkabouts music in celebration of their 25 years of existence.
I've come to appreciate many of these tribute CD's which surprises me. I think it's because they tend to hold together (even given the varying styles of the bands) because the songs are all written by (usually) one hand. And if it's a good songwriter then you are in luck. In this case Chris Eckman's lyrics really have the chance to come to the fore and lets us hear what an outstanding songwriter he is. The arrangements on "Got No Chains'" for the most part tend to follow the originals but even with that said, they do veer all over the road. There are some great surprises as well. A bonus CD featuring the remastered original versions brings the whole project into focus. A great collection of songs and performances celebrating a great rock and roll band!
Terry Lee and a tired looking Vic at OBS festival in Beverungen a few years back.
Vic Chesnutt - (1964-2009)
I am so sad to have to tell you that Vic Chesnutt performed his last song on Christmas Eve day by taking his own life with an overdose of pills. I can't really believe he is gone. His absence here, in the now leaves a hole that can never be filled. Vic was a true original and a powerful burning light. I was so lucky to know him as a friend. I can't tell you why he took his life and speculation is useless. Kristen Hersh wrote a most eloquent memorial HERE.
His impact on my life has been profound and will be eternal. Vic changed the ways I thought about music and writing. About boundaries and what honesty is. Even more importantly he showed me with his music, his humor, his will and yes, his pain, how important and valuable life is because of its very fragility.
One of the greats is gone but will never, ever be forgotten.
Christmas feels strange this year but maybe I'm still not used to how it's lower geared speed here in France. But this year too, like everywhere else, there is not much extra money to play with for most folks. I went to a toy store the other day and most everyone was just shaking his or her heads. Trouble is we've painted ourselves into a corner. Everyone feels pressured to buy gifts but if there is no money what do you? Feel guilty don't you? Create your own? Who would appreciate that anymore? Now we're lined all around with plastic and THAT costs a lot too. Quality is rarely an option anymore and even if you do find it who can afford it? Hell, I paid 20€ for a piggy bank! (Ok, it was dragon bank and had wings and was made in Germany and was good quality but jeez…). Good luck with the gifts you choose!!
Santa Hale 2008
Peace and brotherhood of man? Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize recently and took most of his acceptance speech justifying a war nobody likes. What are the alternatives though? It's extremely difficult to accept that Afghanistan is a "necessary" war don't you think? He argued his case eloquently as he always does and I thought he scored some good points. This guy is doing a hell of a job in spite of what the right-winger, fundamentalists and the rest of the yobs in America say. At least he's moving forward, rolled up his sleeves and is asking the country to do the same. My country has turned into a nation whiners, flag wavers and ammunition hoarders. Now - about that deficit Mr. Obama…
I have another one of these "postcards" I was getting ready to post here but then Christmas happened all of a sudden. The next one will have more information (and my ‘best of' list!) about some of the things that happened to me last year - some of it not so good - and some news about what I plan to do in 2010. I'll post the after Christmas.
Katy and I are well. Cold weather has moved in to stay for a while in Paris here but it's not as bad as it is other places and so we don't complain. We are going to spend Christmas day with her daughter and a couple of friends and I'm going to attempt to cook my second ever cassoulet (basically a fancy French bean stew) which I hope turns out ok. (With cornbread and molasses on the side of course). It's complicated and a lot of work but the one I made last year was fantastic. I'll let you know how this next one turns out.
For New Years Eve we're going to visit some friends out towards Chartre and then on to Nantes for a few days. All of which will be fun. Some country living and a chance to get away from the city will be greatly appreciated.
So - I say it every year and I guess it's always the same but I do hope you get to spend some of your time in the next days with someone you love. I know the holidays can be stressful and sometimes that "Uncle John" can just be just creepy but hey, it's family and for better or worse, you're all in the soup together. Plus its only once or twice a year right? Perhaps if you've got extra space at your dinner table, maybe you could invite an orphan for a meal? Lonely is always worse during the holidays!
Don't drink and drive, have fun (?) and again, thanks for all your support, friendship and love!
Terry Lee Hale
December 12, 2009 - Paris, France
Terry Lee Hale's version of the song Got No Chains is the title track of:
GOT NO CHAINS: THE SONGS OF THE WALKABOUTS – Various Artists
2-CD set - Glitterhouse Records
The Walkabouts turn 25! Time to celebrate one of the most influential bands in Alt. Country as well as Indie-Rock. Milestones of their career were the Americana masterpiece “Satisfied Mind” in 1993, which got them praise from all around the world and several “album of the month” reviews, the raw and rocking “New West Motel”, the dreamy “Devil's Road” which contained their first and only Top Ten single (at least in several countries), “The Lights Will Stay On” or the Brain Eno-produced “Scavenger”.
Now as a gift to these great people from Seattle, numerous musicians created this tribute album, amongst others Peter Buck from R.E.M., Steve Wynn (Dream Syndicate), Chris Cacavas (Green On Red), Jon Langford of Mekons fame and many many more.
Don't expect 1:1 copies of the originals, for instance Chris Cacavas' opening version of “Grand Theft Auto” recalls the atmosphere of Thomas Leer's “Private Plane” or Throbbing Gristle's “United”.
“A good songs is a good song”, Bob Dylan once said, and in case of The Walkabouts' songbook, these versions prove that Chris Eckman and Carla Torgerson are indeed truly gifted songwriters.
CD 2 comprises of remastered versions of the originals.
The whole thing comes in an extremely beautiful multi-fold digifile, keeping up with the quality of the music it contains.
Hello from Paris friends...
I'm a little overdue with updates and rest but lately I've just been taking it easy, resting up after my touring dates and trying to get caught up with a real backlog of mail. I'll write more soon so please stay tuned.
In the mean time HERE IS a real interesting article from a web site I look at regularly. This piece is a fairly honest description of what i see happening in America these days. The devisions are widening and bridges are being burned at an alarming rate. Folks just don't give a damn anymore.
I'd have to say that, for the liberals, being a nice guy is going get you finished last! Stock up on the ammo folks. Check it out...
I left Paris yesterday late at 10:40 and landed right in the middle of a traffic jam. It took me more then 90 minutes to get from our house to the other side of Paris, which is something, like 20K. Welcome to the glamorous world of tour-by-car. I arrived down here just at 21:00 so it was a long drive. The weather all day was gray and hazy and stayed that way until just before Bordeaux where I finally saw a little sunshine. Lately I have been getting quite good at taking short little rests (naps) when I am tired. I managed to sleep for 20 minutes near Bordeaux and felt a whole lot better afterwards. It was hard staying awake before that. Dangerous. Drives on the French autoroutes are boring and expensive. It cost me more than 50€ to drive here and that is just one car! Imagine.
Anyway, I see blue sky here today and I am happy to be back to one of my favorite corners of the world. I am staying with my friends Joseba and Maria in a small village just near the French/Basqueland, border. A nice Spanish tortilla dinner (most excellently made by Maria!) with some good Spanish wine was my welcome back meal and most heartfelt received. My first show is tomorrow and I am am ready.
09.18- Vitoria, Basqueland. 08:36.
I am in a hotel room now getting ready to go find some coffee. Awoke early this morning to the loud sounds of the city just outside my window. I forgot to ask for a room in the back of the hotel away from the street side. I was tired when I stumbled in around midnight though. Anyway, it is clean here and only about a 15-minute walk to the venue. I left my gear at the club as parking is nonexistent here at the hotel (it's across the street from a mall!). Why they give traveling musicians these kinds of hotels is a question I have never been able to answer. (ok, ok… price is usually the decider). To me it is obvious that parking is essential. I need to spell it out in my contracts though... jeez.
I had a good show last night and a nice crowd. Lot's of young folks, men and woman both, and that was very cool. Kind of noisy at times but they were quiet at the appropriate moments for which I was grateful. Difficult with the sound but Rubin did as good as he could with an all metal and glass room and that fucking Yamaha 01V96VCM digital mixer. In all the years I have been seeing that mixing board I've only known one soundman that knew how to work it properly. Clubs like them though because it an everything-in-one unit. By that, I mean it powers the speakers and has effects (reverbs etc.) but it is slow, clumsy and complicated to use. As far as I have been able to tell, all the engineers hate them as well. However, I digress.
The show was good I think and I played fairly well. It will be better tonight I hope. It is off to Durango and a show with friend Petti. Now I am for a shower and then into the hard rain in search of breakfast.
Singing Basque songwriter and guitarist Petti was up with me tonight. This is a great venue, professionally built, great sound system, lights and technicians to bring it all to focus on a large stage. It is all a bit daunting but anyway, it is always a pleasure to play here and last night was no different. All the crew donates their time and for having live music at a quality venue in this city of 20,000 people. Petti was like a force of nature on this night and the audience responded in kind. I am playing six and 12-string guitars along with the Dobro and it's are nice to have the variety. Each guitar allows me to explore different facets of my music and I love that. It is fun singing new songs as well.
The rain has finally stopped and hopefully it will remain gone. One of the many things that I like about this country is the friendliness and confidence of the people. Ok, I am an outsider and I would imagine that it might be quite difference living here day to day. HOWEVER, I will say that the friendliness is not phony and you can tell by how a person moves if they are confident or not. Not so many speak English here but still they are not afraid of you when approached and in fact try rather hard to get their point across or your questions answered. It might be in Basque or Spanish but hey, that is not their problem right?
120 people last night in a loft space created by an association of young people. Everybody that was working there was donating his or her time and energies and it was great. Lot's of smiling faces and plenty of good cheer.
I am playing in a very small bar last night but it is a small little town. A nice, polite and attentive audience of 30 or so people came out early on a rainy Sunday night to sample this American's musical wares. We did well too I think. Most everybody left in good spirits, I sold a few CD's and, for myself, I was happy. After the show, we sat around and drank a few beers and then the owner made us some traditional Basque sandwiches called “talo's” which were great. Just hard, flat bread made with cornmeal and filled with cheese and, on this night some bacon. The whole thing is fried on a grill and served hot. Along with a good strong Basque wine I was satisfied. Tomorrow will be an off day and time to catch up on some much needed sleep. Tuesday it is off to Spain and the big city lights of Madrid.
Celebrated my last night with a fine dinner created by Maria and toasted in good cheer by us all. Friend Joseba has a good selection of music that I do not know too much about and I was quite interested in listening too. Derek Bailey, David Sylvain and even Joseba Irazoki's own projects are quite fascinating. It is good to step outside of ones own musical ‘safe zone' and into the lives of people that think completely differently. It's something I need to do more. It has been a great time here in the Basque country and I am already looking forward to my return. Now though, it is time to get down the road.
“Parting The Waters - America in the King Years 1954-63” by Taylor Branch. Published 1989 by Simon & Schuster
Pulitzer Prize Winner, NY Times, Boston Globe, LA Times Best Book Of The Year, National Book Critics Award winner, etc.
This book is an excellently written history about the American civil rights movement. The foundation of the story and, indeed, the book and the movement itself begins in 1867 with the history of Montgomery, Alabama's First Baptist Church. This volumes (one of two) story continues until just after Dr. Martin Luther Kings historic “I have a dream” speech in Washington D.C almost 100 years later. King is the lynch pin that holds it all together but this is not necessarily just about him. It is a fascinating and insightful read about what was “a revolutionary struggle unequaled since the Civil War”. If you are afraid of reading this kind of book because it might be boring you need have no fear. This is a masterfully told story and book is a gripping read.
Taylor Branch takes you inside the halls of the government of four presidents (Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon) and details the lies of J. Edgar Hoover. He also details the lives of some of the most pioneering of those voter registers, marchers, preachers, protesters, sit-inners, and the workingmen and women of the South who risked and gave their lives in the pursuit of freedom. Moreover most all of this movement was achieved by the (mostly) nonviolent protests by some of the most brutally subjugated and oppressed men, women and children of the modern world.
For those folks who seek an understanding of the complexities of American politics as well as of race and its fallout, this book would be a great place to start. A truly important book and one I could not put down. I salute you Taylor Branch!
As you can see up here now you can listen and buy Shotgun Pillowcase directly from this site.
6 months in:
Seems like I'm always writing these little postcards smack dab in the middle of summer. In Europe anyway, it often feels like NOBODY is home. Certainly trying to do business with venues and promoters is challenging. Life does move forward though but I'm often wondering who is steering the ship.
From the looks of things in America, President Obama has his hands very, very full. Certainly since the start of his presidency partisan politics in that country have taken a decided turn for the worse. Now the Republicans and their ilk are not only against the Democrats because the Dems are trying to get the country back on its feet after 8 years of mismanagement (remember Jr.s 1.6 trillion dollar tax cut 6 months into his first term in office?), they are against Obama because they (the Republicans) were ‘faced' in the last election and they are against Obama for nothing else but that. In other words they are against him on principle alone.
The sad thing is that they offer little or nothing in the way of solutions or alternatives to those ideas being put forward by Obama and the Democrats. Apparently it's enough to just be against everything the ‘other' party is trying to accomplish. Most of them would not admit it but this is as much about racial prejudice as it is about their anger at getting kicked away from the feeding trough. It's looking like it's going to be a very, very long and ugly mess in the US of A into the foreseeable future. I can see no way that this is going to come together either. It's really turned into us versus them kind of thing.
There has been a big noise recently in America about the Presidents comments regarding the arrest of a black man in that mans own home for breaking into his own home! Mr. Obama said he thought the "police had handled the matter stupidly" and of course that got that dogs barking. How dare anyone criticize the police, let alone the fact that the one doing the criticizing is a black man. The subject of race has been kept at a fairly low boil since his election but it certainly doesn't take much to bring it to the surface. I like how he is confronting this subject, which is head-on as it needs to be. America is a racist country and, though progress certainly has been made, the only way change this is to have a dialogue, locally as well as nationally, about the different realities that each color lives with. Painful as it may be on all sides of the divides, President Obama is not letting us forget that he is indeed very much an African-American male and that race is and needs to be talked about honestly and openly.
6 months in I still like the guy. I think some of the sparkling shine has come off his image but hey, we know now he's just a man and not the messiah. He has brought forward a very ambitious agenda and has fought hard to get his programs enacted into law. Personally speaking I'm not too happy with how he's gotten the banks back into their billion dollar quarterly profits schedules. Doesn't make sense to me but perhaps things will work out. With all the people out of work everywhere it sure doesn't seem like fixing things for the banks first was the correct thing to do was it? I guess that's why he's the president and I'm sitting here in my little office writing this letter.
I like how President Obama has tried to get his national health coverage program enacted into law. It's tough but I also agree with him that the current state of affairs in regards lack of universal health care for millions of Americans is bankrupting the country. This problem needs to be addressed and it will be.
He's also done well on the world stage I think. Trying to bring America back into the fellowship of the world as an equal member and partner with the rest of the countries has been an important first step and one I applaud. Getting out of Iraq has been a much overdue move. Afghanistan is something now that has to be figured out. Sending more heavily armed robo-troops into a country that has never been conquered in thousands of years? Against the toughest, most dedicated guerrila fighters in the whole world? And thugs, bandits and criminals are running said country? And this is supposed to bring progress and peace "to the people"?? Duh, I don't think so.
Well, I'm not sure what kind of progress report this is but these are some of my thoughts 6 months in. I still don't regret for one second the nations choice that was made last November 5th . America is a better place, neighbor and friend now. I sincerely hope she moves forward in this same positive direction.
( I was supposed to be contributing more to this page but so far it's been difficult to find the time. Anyway...)
If you're looking for a ‘true story' novel with grit (so says the cover) then this is your stop. I couldn't put the book down. Supposedly the true-life story of Roberts. I mean the story is so far fetched it's almost fantastical. Something like Robert Ludlum or even Marvel Comics could invent. We got this guy, escapes from a top security prison in Australia (for robbery), flees to India where he settles into the slums and (stealing from the back cover of the novel)”… establishes a health clinic, joins the mafia, works a money launderer, forger and street soldier.” He learns the language, gets caught, ends up back in jail, gets out, acted in Bollywood, fights for the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, writes 3 versions of the book (933 pages!) because prison guards trashed 2 of them and on and on. I'm not sure what to believe but this guy is out there in the world and there's apparently more to the story then ends up in the book. Still, it IS gripping, readable and very well written and quite a life for one little Australian man. I know this book has been translated into your language. Perfect summer reading material! Have fun.
We are currently making new arrangements to sell digital Terry Lee Hale music. If you can wait another month we’ll have some new links for you to go to. If you can’t wait then by all means go ahead and click away at your favorite sites. That money will not reach me though as we’ve discontinued the account with using It’s About Music as our main distributor. For CD sales in Europe you can still buy or order them at one of your favorite retailers. We’ll have a company soon in America that will sell those CD’s as well. Thanks for your patience.
Jackson Browne Olympia Paris concert review. 04/27/09
Remember Rick Rubin and what he did for the careers of Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond? I couldn't help thinking as I watched Jackson Browne and his band plod through his set at the Olympia tonight that a couple of weeks with M. Rubin was exactly what he needed. Ok, we all know and respect the fine catalogue of songs the Browne has penned. It's not an easy thing to do and I do tip my hat. But it's also very telling that the biggest applause he got during the one hour I was there was for when he stopped singing and let his backup singers take over “Doctor My Eyes”. The least applause he got was from his newest song which preceded Doctor My Eyes. I am absolutely confident all of this was not lost on this long time music veteran musician.
Don't me wrong - I DO respect the guy. He's had his musical moments, he cares more than anybody in the world and he has written some fine songs (didn't I already say that?) testifying to that effect. But when I think of Southern Californian rock I prefer to think about The Doors, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, X, Blasters, Los Lobos, Motley Crue, Van Halen, NWA, etc. I've said this before in my reviews but I do prefer see some blood, sweat and tears with my live music and trust me friends, there was not one drop shed except from the rainy skies on this chilly Parisian evening. But, to be fair, Paris audiences are tough and I've seen this before. You REALLY must do more than just play the notes here because if you don't it's polite (for this hit singles) applause at best. I left before the end of the concert but I'm confident I didn't miss anything that playing the records (if I owned them) wouldn't satisfy.
PS - One last thing: someone PLEASE do take those fucking cymbals away from his drummer! Jeez…
I sincerely hope Sam doesn't mind my sharing with you some of her writings
that I picked off her website at samphillips.com. Lately, as
I've been gathering and writing songs in preparation for a new recording,
I've been thinking quite a lot about what does and does not constitute a
good song. I couldn't help by being struck with her very accurate
description of my own feelings regarding songwriting as well the business of
music. Her words are wise and I believe probably hard fought for truths.
The do express perfectly my present day feelings. Anyway, if you really
want to know what good songs are about then you really need look no further
then Sam Phillips. She is a tremendous talent. All of her recorded music is
worth owning but her last ("Don't Do Anything"-2008) is my current fave.
From Sam Philips web site: "I try to keep from wearing everyone out with
confessional singer/songwriter dribble. (It's not interesting just because
it's in a song) Having written that, there are times when real life breaks
into my songs like a wrecking ball and I do some confessing. The break up of
my marriage made it's way into my last record and is not completely absent
on this new one. It was a big painful thing. I hope you never have to go
through it. During the worst of it, I came across a little passage in the I
Ching that talked about trying to be (pardon my very lame reduction here)
king of the dirt pile. Fighting for something that isn't worth it, something
you don't really need or want, just to be the king. I am thinking about this
because my record comes out in June. I would love for people to hear my
music and like it, but then there's that big dirt pile of selling, being
popular. I have always wanted to make popular music without being popular.
Writing good songs, making good records, doing good shows. Let someone else
be king of the dirt.. .
hoping this will make sense and come in handy sometime,
The tablatures page has been update. Yes, again!
"Tornado Alley", "I Remember" and "Forget About Love" are completerly new and "Texas Rose" and "I Still Want You" now are in pdf format. As usual thanks to The Doctor!
The tablatures page has been update. Two new songs (Withered Bouquet and Postscript) and a new pdf format for easier and cleaner viewing...and playing!
Pdf tablatures will come as standard in the future, thanks again to our friend Dr. Thomas Ott!
“The Great War For Civilization: The Conquest of the Middle East”- Robert Fisk (2005) (translated)
If you've been looking for one book that might give you some insight about the Middle East then this is the one to read. For more then 30 year's Fisk has lived in and reported (The London Times, The Independent) from Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Algeria and other places. Although this dense book (at 1200+ pages) is nonfiction, it is a fascinating and compelling read. It is essentially a book about war. That the region and its history of unrelieved violence and broken promises are written in such a competent and straightforward manner is needful and timely. There is not one nation or government and very few politicians escape his critical eye or fiery condemnations. He does not quibble or hesitate to name names, present the facts or make conclusions. This is not pretty story nor does he make any attempt to lessen his precise and quite graphic detailing of the land, it's problems, it's peoples and the costs being paid by the those majority of decent men and women who live there.
But hey, if you have already picked a side then perhaps you should stay away from this read as I guarantee you won't like this book. If on the other hand you can approach this information with a questing mind and openness you will find much there to learn. You will be educated and come away with a much clearer understanding of what Fisk's main point is: “that war is about the total failure of the human spirit”.
Gran Torino - 2008
Written by Dave Johannson, Nick Schenk. Directed by Clint Eastwood
Starring Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang, Ahney Her and Christopher Carley
Mr. Eastwood as the icon again but this time with funny lines. I wish the guy would get off the cross though but still the movie is ultimatly serious stuff and very entertaining. Short on script, a bit awkward at times but I still liked it. I suspect the movie was written for the lowest common denominator but maybe it will cause folks to think. The movie is rickety and warm.
Photo of the week:
Photographer: Martina A. Stanek
Terry's Tips -
I've wanted to do this page for a while now but have held off for a few reasons. I do like the idea of having a page that is more mobile and changing . Although I enjoy writing the more in depth articles they do take a long time. Plus once they are posted and folks read them they probably don't get visited again. Anyway, with this new window I'd like to have it be a kind of movable feast of ideas and suggestions of things I'm hearing, seeing, tasting, doing or whatever. Some few words or a paragraph to perhaps turn you on to something if you're in the mood. Books, movies, some personal photo's, show's, whatever. I'll try and make it more then just topical (like just stuff here in Paris or books that can't be bought in other languages) but that might not always be possible of course. Anyway, this is to be just things I like and would like to share with you.
One must remember though that where we live (just outside Paris), it's not how shall we say, any kind of cultural hotspot. Movies arrive here a month or so after their stateside release. Books I buy ((mostly) at a good used bookstore in Paris and what I read is totally dependent on the best finds I get there. Music comes to me from various sources but I get a lot of it at Amazon. I try and stay abreast of what's current but, again, I'm a bit out of the loop. I do try though and life itself is rich with surprises.
Anyway, we'll see how this works. If you've suggestions please send them along. And as always, I hope you enjoy the pages.
Special thanks here to the great webmaster Stefano who is taking more of his time to keep this page loaded!!
Movies : “Lars and The Real Girl” Directed by Craig Gillespie. Written by Nancy Oliver.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer, Kelli Garner and Paul Schneider. 2008.
An emotional, very intelligent and (almost) over the top comedy that manages to be quite absorbing and ultimately endearing. The premise is a bit wacko but with supurb directing, writing and performances everyone keeps this lovely and captivating movie on track from beginning to end. Perhaps you won't all like it but I'll bet that if you like my music you'll love this movie. I was totally won over.
Books: “Globalization and it's Discontents”, by Joseph E. Stiglitz. 2002.
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, former Chief Economist of the World bank and Chairman of President Clintons Council of Economic Advisors. This guy knows his stuff and this book will educate and scare the hell out of you. He manages to bring to perfect focus what Globalization is doing, who it is hurting and benefiting the most and why it is failing. An absolutely gripping and readable account of the West's financial global agenda and of the changing world that is meeting that challenge. This is not dry, intellectual reading either. Readable, engaging and profound.