Just started up a new myspace page for the band. If you’re on myspace, stop by and add us as a friend.
The free download period for “We Are All We Need” ended November 15. Thanks to everyone who downloaded the new track from Sheila Kirsten Hughes and the TSP Orchestra. Look for “We Are All We Need” on our 2010 album, “If These Stones Could Speak.” Stay tuned for other download opportunities in the future.
Last nights session with the TSP was a blast. We got 2 songs down, “We Are All We Need” and “10,000 Trees,” and had lots of laughs in the process. Plus, Vanessa Brown, who will be opening for us November 7th at our show at Sacred Grounds in Tampa, was in the house for a listen. (Give Vanessa a listen at myspace.com/vanessabrownmusic).
You won’t believe who else dropped by! Let’s see… several of the muppets including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Elmo (my fav), Milton and Lumberg of “Office Space” fame, some miscellaneous Scottish guy who never introduced himself, Homer Simpson, Mr. Mackey, Stitch, some of the characters from “The Princess Bride,” and many, many more. At one point, we let Elmo count in one of the songs, but that didn’t work so well since I could not stop laughing.
If you haven’t guessed yet, we have some voice over talent in the bunch. (Jim’s Elmo is PERFECT!) And all of this took place without drugs — unless you count the hit Chris took off the coffee bong (by the way, sipping a cup of coffee into a microphone does not sound like sipping a cup of coffee.) We’re thinking of splicing together some of the nonsense that goes on during our sessions, then adding some totally inappropriate background music to it. We should upload that as a preview of the upcoming album so as to fend off any interest in what we’re doing whatsoever. LOL. But hey, at least we’re having a great time, and that’s what matters.
Speaking of previews, I hope to have something to share with you soon. We want to get down the basic tracks for the songs first, plus we have several ideas for additional production on the tracks, and I really want you to hear it the way we’re hearing it. So, I don’t want to put anything out there too prematurely.
In other news, we’re working on ideas for our upcoming photoshoot. We’ve got several themes stirring around. Something about the idea of “impermanence” appeals to me, so it will be interesting to see where that leads. I may tap you guys for some creative input on this.
We’re also contemplating how to release this music we’re recording. People aren’t buying physical albums the way they used to. Most of our sales these days are from digital downloads, so we’re considering going all digital with our future releases. But some of you have told me that you want a physical album because you have no idea what an mp3 is. (And my guess is none of the people who have said this are reading this blog right now. They probably don’t know what a “blog” is.) So, I want to make sure everyone gets what they want, so we’re weighing all the possibilities. I’ll post more on this in another blog so I can get your feedback.
Until next time, ya’ll have fun out there.
Since my last post, Chris and I have been to Alaska. We could totally see Russia from there. We even found shirts that claimed the same thing. 😉 It was an incredible journey that began in Fairbanks, then continued on train to Denali National Park and Talkeetna, then by bus to Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage. Then we boarded a ship at Whittier and sailed to College Fjord, Glacier Bay, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, and then Vancouver, where our journey came to an end.
Alaska has some of the most awe-inspiring scenery I’ve seen in my life. Denali National Park was my favorite. I highly recommend that you make the trip up there sometime in your life if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.
Since our return, we’ve had family visiting from Denmark, and have resumed recording. I’ll have an update for you on that soon. In the meantime, enjoy this video I put together of our trip to Alaska.
“Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen.” I pull from this Ralph Waldo Emerson quote when I say I believe there is an intelligent, malleable energy out there listening and interacting with us. Some call it God, some call it the Universe, some call it consciousness. There are many names. I prefer Universe because of the enormity of its meaning. For me, it has an all-encompassing feel that divisive religions have stripped away from the God label. And when I think Universe, I don’t think noun, I think verb… the most active and dynamic of all.
“…the basic stuff of the universe, at its core, is looking like a kind of pure energy that is malleable to human intention and expectation in a way that defies our old mechanistic model of the universe — as though our expectation itself causes our energy to flow out into the world and affect other energy systems.”
-James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy
I see the Universe’s fingerprints in my life, usually in small ways, from the way the sunrise brilliantly turns the forest behind my house to gold each morning, to the little yellow butterfly that sometimes comes to play with me during my walks (this as I’m working on a children’s book about butterflies), to that little thing my heart desires that somehow finds its way to me. Some might call such things coincidence. But what many see as coincidence, I see as synchronicity.
A few weeks ago, Chris, Alex, and I were working on rough recordings of a few new songs. One in particular, called “Sweet Amorilia,” was taking center stage as the favorite. I don’t know what it was, but Alex and I must have been tuned to the same wavelength because we were both hearing saxophone in “Sweet Amorilia.” We started discussing it, and the more we talked about it, the deeper the desire grew to figure out a way to get sax on the song. There was only one problem: none of us play the sax, or know someone who does.
Two weeks later, we got together to flesh out a few more roughs, and again, that distant, yet ever-present sax was transmitting into our heads from somewhere out there in the universe. We started talking about it again. That’s when Alex revealed that over the last couple weeks he’d gone as far as to survey local pawn shops in hopes to find a sax he could pick up cheap just to see if he could make a decent sound with one. (We’re pretty brave about trying new instruments. It’s how we ended up able to play as many as we do, and why adding “Orchestra” to the end of “Sheila Kirsten Hughes and the TSP” seemed appropriate.) Realizing the unlikeliness we’d be able to add sax to the track, I said, “Well, let’s just put our desire out there to the Universe right now for a sax player.”
Enter Jim Mara, saxophonist…
Four days later, I receive an email out of seemingly nowhere that read:
“I was checking out Tampa musicians and found your music… simply soul touching. I have been playing saxophone for years and your music is what I’ve dreamed of playing… melodic and beautiful. If you would ever consider adding a sax to some of your music, please let me know…”
OH MY GOD! Uh, I mean OH MY UNIVERSE! (Just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? And OMG becomes OMU. Hmmm…. I think I’ll stick with OMG. LOL.) Was I dreaming? A huge smile stretched across my face. I had to pinch myself just to be sure. (Pinch!) Nope, not dreaming. So, what did I do next? Well, the dance of joy, of course, all sloppy and giddy like a little kid. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, and yet I could. Despite my excitement, there was a calm inside of me that wasn’t the least bit surprised (it’s from all the Yoga). It was my inner grasshopper saying, “Yes. This is the natural progression of things. All is as it should be.” (Screw you calm voice! This is no time for your zen-y-ness! C’mon, do the dance of joy with me!) I immediately forwarded the email onto Alex and was like, “Dude!!! NO WAY!!! Check this out!!!”
I replied to Jim and said, “You have no idea how synchronistic your email to me is,” and I explained to him what I just explained above.
Jim replied, “Wow! Sounds like our messages to the universe intersected.”
On Thursday, July 30th, the luxurious sound of Jim on saxophone resonated throughout our entire house as we recorded “Sweet Amorilia.” The experience was amazing, and so surreal. And we were right… it was the perfect addition to “Sweet Amorilia!”
Later that night, after Jim left, I remembered that Alex came to us the exact same way. “If you could please send us a drummer who’s a really good person with no ego. And if he could play other instruments besides just drums, that would be cool, too,” I remember writing in my journal. It didn’t manifest as quickly as Jim did. In fact, almost 2 years went by between expressing that desire and meeting Alex. Everything happens in its own time, I’ve found, and I’ve come to accept that because the Universe’s timing is way better than mine. Besides, it was worth the wait. Chris and I couldn’t ask for a more talented drummer, or better friend.
Before bed that night, I gazed up at the star filled sky and said, “Well done.” Yes, the Universe is good. 🙂
Before I say goodbye for today, you guys have to check out this video. It’s a scientific explanation on how an observer’s expectations affect reality… quantum physics and all. Fascinating!
A few years back, we actually had someone in the industry tell us the only thing getting in our way was our name. “Sheila Kirsten Hughes Band,” by their standards, was too long and hard to remember. Well, in an effort to make sure we never listen to what the industry tells us, we’ve made it even longer. So, we’ve got ourselves a new name… sort of. The band formerly known as “Sheila Kirsten Hughes Band” is now “Sheila Kirsten Hughes and the TSP Orchestra.” (can you imagine the domain name if we’d decided to spell out the entire thing? DISCLAIMER: The domain name you’re about to view was typed out by a professional stunt typist. Please do not try this at home.)
“www.sheilakirstenhughesandthetsporchestra.com” (“Ugh! Finger death!” Thud.)
Longest. Domain. Name. Ever.
Fortunately, because we care about our friends and fans, we went with something much more simpler-er: www.sheilaandthetsp.com. Yes, for those who would prefer not to end their lives prematurely from tongue death from having to utter so many words, or are just too lazy to be bothered with so many syllables, you can call us “Sheila and the TSP” for short. I’m sure we’ve been called worse.
Why the change? Well, because “the TSP” is way cooler, and a way better band, than “band.” If I was Chris or Alex, I’d rather be known as a member of “the TSP Orchestra” than a member of “band.” Not that they were complaining. I mean, unless you count the shivering they were doing in the shadow of my long-ass name. Never once did either of them ask to borrow my pink sweater (so soft and warm. Yes! YES!). Plus, I just assumed when they were saying “so cold” in that nearly-collapsed-lung, shaky voice under their slowed breaths, it was just part of the act. “Yeah, Alex, you’re right. The music does sound really cool! Really, really cool! By the way, I like the way you made the steam come out of your breath when you said that just now!”
Seriously though, I was joking around with Alex over an email a few weeks ago, and wallah! TSP was born… and there was no going back. Why? Because as Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, and I might be paraphrasing here, “man’s mind, once warped by a twisted sense of humor, never regains its original dimensions.” (FREE Perspectives CD to anyone who can guess what “TSP” stands for. Add me as a friend on Facebook and you can go through my old posts to find out.)
It’s going to take us a while to get all our stuff switched over to the new name, so for now, you’ll see both “Sheila Kirsten Hughes Band” and “Sheila and the TSP” stuff. I plan to redesign our website sometime in the next several months. Plus, we’re going to have some new press photos done by Stehlik Photography. Best. People. Photographers. Ever. Period.
We’re working on new music, too. Not sure when it’s going to be ready or exactly how we’re going to distribute it this time around. We’re considering going all digital. We’ll see. Recording with Alex and Chris…. uh… I mean “the TSP” has been so much fun. They are way cooler than those “band” schmucks I was working with before. LOL. I’ll be posting blogs about the recording sessions soon. So, stay tuned.