Tag Archives: novelty

April’s new video (and barely under the wire!)

This is the second of the two “short story songs” I wrote late last year. You can check out the other one here if you haven’t already. It makes 4 months in a row that I’ve put up a new vid. (Though I’m definitely just barely squeaking this one in on time!)

(However, I do still have one “in the can” for next month.)

As usual, I’m experimenting with what I can do with LumaFusion. Still don’t have the color grading and such down very well, so the two cameras don’t exactly match. I suspect that better lighting will fix some of that.

I did learn that I could–after jumping through some hoops–use my 10-year old Canon Vixia cameras with LF on the iPad. That’s good because they were bloody expensive when I bought them new and I hate to have them simply hanging around collecting dust.

(Come to think on it, I had to jump through some hoops back when I was using an old version of iMovie on an elderly Mac desktop.)

The next test I do will be adding in my Zoom H2 to up the audio quality. Plus, if I want to, I can throw my phone camera into the mix and do a three camera shoot. That ought to keep me confused.

So with no further ado I present…

Hemoglobin Overload

If you like it, please share it! Sharing is caring.

New video of a new original tune

After a several year dry spell, last year I wrote not one, not two, but three new songs. This one is the last of the three, and the second one I wrote since finally copping to the fact that songs don’t always have to be novels. Short stories are a fine art in and of themselves.

It’s based on the Friedrich Nietzsche quote, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Think of it as a sort of open letter to whatever doesn’t kill me. In keeping with that, I have cleverly titled it, An Open Letter To Whatever Doesn’t Kill Me. It’s a very brief song… like the whole video, including titles, is only 2 minutes long. But its history stretches back to the mid-80s. I’m going to tell you 3 brief “sub-stories” before getting to the video itself.

So, if you’re a tl;dr sort, you can click the link above and go straight to YouTube to watch it. (But then, if you’re a tl;dr sort, I wonder what the hell you’re doing following me?)

(Before I forget to mention it, the joke behind the song is thanks to the Dunn Lumber at 93rd and Aurora in Seattle, who posted it on their reader board.)

I’ll have a few last words below the video.

Andrew’s Muse Story (sub-story 1 of 3)

In the mid-80’s I was heavily involved in the Society for Creative Anachronism–aka the SCA, a medieval re-creation group–and was living in an apartment in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle, WA. (In SCA terms, that meant I was living in the Kingdom of An Tir.) Besides me and my then ladyfriend, there were two other SCA folk in the building.

One of these folk was Andrew–and damn, I can’t pull his last name out of my head right now–who was, amongst other things, quite the poet. He’d been overheard (misheard, actually) by a passing knight, saying something that the knight perceived as dissing the ladies of An Tir.

Since Andrew has something of a game leg, he did not participate in the armored fighter part of the SCA. This made it impossible for the knight to honorably challenge him to a duel in the lists. So instead he told him, as penance, he had to write a poem praising the beauty, wit, charm, etc. of the ladies of An Tir and read it at the banquet of an upcoming tourney. Andrew said (at least, mentally), “Challenge accepted!” and set to slaving over it for the next several weeks.

Yes. Weeks. It was an opus.

When he finished he was understandably happy and he came dashing down to the apartment where me and the aforementioned ladyfriend lived. He read it for us and we showed the appropriate appreciation–because it was good, that’s why–and he went happily back to his place. Probably to get some much needed sleep.

But one line in the poem just sparked me. I took it, twisted it around, and within a ridiculously short period of time had churned out a poem built around it. It was only two stanzas of six lines each, not an opus. I was tickled anyways and dashed up the stairs to read it to Andrew.

He listened, blinked a couple times, and then said (at least half jokingly), “How dare you have a 10 minute muse?!”

KW’s Song Advice (sub-story 2 of 3)

Back in about the same timeframe my guitar guru, K.W. Todd, had made a complementary comment on one of my songs. I muttered on about how, yeah, I was generally happy with it and had been playing it at open mikes to good response, but I wished I’d done this or that bit a little differently. But now that all these people had heard it I didn’t want to change it.

K.W. said, “But, Hobbit, it’s your tune! You can do anything you want with it.”

OK. Yeah. I heard that, but didn’t really absorb it until later. Indeed, much later.

Phil’s Short Story Lesson (sub-story 3 of 3)

Here’s where the three sub-stories converge.

Back in mid-November, Phil Doleman, my online pal from England tweeted,

I surprised myself by suddenly writing and recording an EP over the last week. Sometimes it happens like that, and you don’t argue :-)
You can get it from Bandcamp, name your price (which includes free :-) )

My first reaction, of course, was “How dare you have such a prolific muse!” (Yeah, Andrew. I feel it now, bro.)

I went and listened to it and noticed that the longest song was on 2:18 long. I’d never written a song that was that short. But I have notebooks full of song bits I’ve come up with and not been able to expand out into what I would consider a full song. So why not try a short story song? Within a week I’d finished a song called “Hemoglobin Overload,” fleshing out a song snippet I’d had around for years.

So… thanks, Phil!

Check out Phil’s EP, Might Never Happen.

The Video At Last

(This has a NSFW rating because I drop an F-bomb. Just one, because it’s a surgical strike. Too much collateral damage happens when you carpet F-bomb.)

Oh No! Not Another Learning Experience!

I’m still learning the LumaFusion video editor, so the Picture-In-Picture stuff isn’t as tidy as it could be. Also, I somehow set the camera to “focus on faces” mode and every time I moved it changed focus and mucked up the lighting.

Last Words

If you’ve read this far, please do me a large favor and drop a little comment here, even if it’s just “Hi, Hobbit, I read the thing.”

If you like it, please share it, either via YouTube or the link to this post.

Hobbit & Hare at Arts in Nature Festival on 08/26/17

wpid-festival_poster-2017_web.jpgCome join Hobbit & Hare at the Arts In Nature Festival in West Seattle. This two day festival takes place at Camp Long on Saturday, August 26th from 11am until 9pm and on Sunday the 27th from 11am until 6pm.

The festival brings together artists, musicians, and other performers and presents them on various stages and areas throughout a beautiful park that was once upon a time a wealthy early settler’s private hunting preserve. It’s almost like going back to the ‘hood for me as I not only have played it once before, but also lived for six or seven years about a half-dozen houses south of the main entrance (35th Ave SW and SW Dawson St). My house’s backyard ended at Camp Long’s fence! I used to get raccoons visiting my kitchen from their home in Camp Long. The raccoons would come in to chow down on my cat’s food, much to their little feline chagrin!

Hobbit & Hare will be playing at the entrance to the main lodge on Saturday from 11:30am until 1pm.

Snake Suspenderz at the Blue Moon on 04/23/17

The mighty Snakez are delighted to be opening this show for the fabulous Bakelite 78!

Snake Suspenderz, trying to look innocent

In case you don’t know Snake Suspenderz already, we’re a quartet featuring vocals, ukulele, trombone, guitar, tuba and drums. We call our music “cartoon jazz” and we play a relentlessly quirky blend of novelty songs and hits of the 1920’s and 30’s, with a generous helping of original tunes written in those styles. By turns snarky, sentimental, and exuberant, the mighty Snakez bring wildly entertaining musical fun for the whole family and then some, fulfilling our mission to provide “hot jass, hokum and novelty music — with a bite!

Bakelite 78, keeping the speakeasy vibe alive.

Bakelite 78’s repertoire is an eclectic mix of swing, Dixieland, blues, proto-country, and cabaret, as well as a plethora of originals in hybrids of these styles.  Founding member Robert Rial arrived in Chicago in 2000, eager to engage in the music he loved most: dance orchestra music/swing, country-blues, dixieland, tin pan alley, rock and American folk. Bakelite 78 preserved the music of the early 20th Century, and the band was born to keep classic crooner vocals & speak-easy jazz/lounge/cabaret alive.

In 2009, Robert departed for Seattle and Bakelite 78 was rebuilt. The new lineup of musicians includes Robert Rial on tenor banjo, six string, tenor guitar and voice, Erin Jordan on accordion and voice, Austin Quist on upright bass, Erik Reed on trumpet, Sabrina Pope on clarinet, and Steven Baz on drums.

We’re going to party like it’s 1929! Come on down!

Jazz Vespers

Sunday, December 4th found Hobbit & Hare in a beautiful old Baptist church, playing the monthly Seattle Jazz Vespers show. This concert series has been running for 15 years now and has “come up on my radar” a number of times. I just never thought I’d be booked for it.

Hobbit & Hare – photo by Greagoir Pavlos

Yet here’s Sketch and I, happily playing for a truly awesome audience of about 65 or so. They were very attentive and appreciative, even applauding for some of my solos. That was enough to make me all verklempt, I assure you! I don’t know about Sketch, but I sure felt validated!

The concert was in three parts. The first part was each of the three acts doing a short (about 12 minute) set. Then there was a 20 minute break featuring a brief, non-denominational, inspirational message and an offering to help support the concert series. Lastly all three acts came back out and each played an additional 18 minute set. H&H closed each music portion.

A special bonus for us was our friend Greg took the above picture and it’s the absolute best live performance pic of Hobbit & Hare ever. (I snapped the other two pictures in this post with my phone and would like to apologize.)

Dan & Jim – photo by Howlin’ Hobbit

Dan and Jim opened the show. I met Dan Schindler a few years ago at a SUPA meet up and he showed up last year busking at Pike Place Market, where he hooked up with Jim Nason. Dan has an immense repertoire of old jazz and novelty music and he not only sings them beautifully but also has a great stage presence. This goes a long way when busking as well as on more “official” stages. He’s helped me out several times with arrangements for the older tunes.

I’ve known Jim for decades, starting with the Victory Music open mikes in Ruston, WA. For five or so years we played together in the Emerald City Jug Band. Jim was the concert coordinator for this special buskers edition of Seattle Jazz Vespers. In addition to being amazing on the bucket bass and guitar, Jim writes excellent songs. In 2015 he took home his third Grand Tumbleweed Trophy from the songwriting contest at the annual Tumbleweed Music Festival in Richland, WA. That’s 30% of the trophies in their history!

Pretty Shady String Band – photo by Howlin’ Hobbit

The Pretty Shady String Band took the middle position. Annie Ford has been busking at Pike Place Market for about a decade and Greg Paul for around half that time (if my fuzzy memory is behaving).

Annie has several projects going and plays fiddle, washtub bass, and guitar. Her other projects include the Nu Klezmer ArmyCast Iron Maidens, and her own Annie Ford Band.

Greg plays banjo, guitar, and some washboard as well. Both sing and Pretty Shady shows that off with some great harmonies.

And at the end of the evening we all got paid. Cash. In an amount that said they respected musicians and wanted to actually support live music, not just talk like they did.

Heavenly! Just like a dream come true.