What’s up now
Newest of all is a six-piece rock/funk band called SWAMP ASH. This has grown out of a long series of jam sessions (lots of good bands are born this way), and over the last couple of years has made the transition to onstage readiness. Drums, bass (fretless!), keys, one electrical guitar, sax, and vocals. We do a lot of instrumental stuff as well. It has been said that we are “playing the deep tracks with grooves that jam”, and I for one will not argue with that.
Mostly we play in the West Chester area at bars like Pietro’s Prime and the sadly departed Sprout Music Collective, but in the last several months we’ve branched out to King of Prussia (playing at Peppers and Screwballs), the Bridgeport Ribhouse, the Dawson Street Pub in Manayunk, and even our first opening slot at the Ardmore Music Hall. Wherever you hear us, we’re a lot of fun, and these guys can really play and sing, so remember this name…SWAMP ASH. Check out our Facebook page for lots of live video and up-to-date schedule info at www.facebook.com/SwampAshBand. We’ve also got a website at swampashband.com. Come out and hear us!
Please go to the Miranda’s Waltz page. You can listen to two tunes from the album there.
Rock Bands and Songwriting
As a rock band player I have focused mostly on writing (and co-writing) songs and playing in “original” as opposed to “cover” bands, and so my performing and recording career has developed that way, too. After college I started playing in other people’s bands (1979-1980), and launched my first project based on my songs in 1981 or so. For the next ten years, I got to work with a lot of great players, singers, producers, and engineers. In 1991, I jumped off that merry-go-round, since my kids were here by then and it seemed that stardom would continue to elude me. I’m still a band guy at heart.
Since I play guitar in a lot of different styles, I have been able to find work as a backup player for several artists since the early ‘90s. I like this way of working a lot. The communication levels are intense, and everyone has to be good all the time. Much of the time it means that only two of us are playing, and sometimes it’s a whole band. I did a bunch of recording work as well, which I also like. Most of the projects were rock ’n’ roll or singer/songwriter-oriented, but I also worked with a couple of my jazz-minded buddies in various duos for a few years, and got my butt kicked in the best possible way in the process.
Please check out the Jay’s Jams page to hear samples from the tracks.
Library and Production Music
My solo CD Miranda’s Waltz found its way, thanks to some of my former musical partners in crime, to a company which commissions and then licenses original instrumental music for radio and TV production, advertising and so forth. They liked it a lot and hired me on as a composer. This has been a great gig and lets me work creatively in new ways (uh-oh, I need to learn mandolin and banjo this week!) but also with a lot of interesting limitations. Basically I had to learn to write two- or three-minute gems that could be edited into brief snippets and that concisely set a mood.
My music, especially the acoustic fingerpicking stuff, has been used all over the world by most of the major broadcast and cable TV networks, which is pretty cool. It’s still the best excuse ever to pull out all my guitars, buy an occasional new one, study all the newest licks and tricks, and really polish my recording and mixing skills.
Here’s a demo edited from a few of my more acoustic-oriented projects:
And here’s some rock stuff: