Mike and Mitch from Cowboy’s Juke Joint have been playing a few tracks from Black Cat Bone on their podcast on the interwebs lately. They play a pretty kick ass mix of “Gritty Blues Rock and Southern Rock bands from around the world; you’ve never heard before, and sharing them with passionate music lovers the world over . ”
It’s nice to get a little appreciation from people outside of my tiny little universe here in Grand Rapids, MI. It’s especially cool that they help spread the work to like-minded music fans I would never find on my own! Folks like these are keeping the independent music revolution going strong.
Facebook live video from Bemo’s Bar in Bay City MI. Black Cat Bone dida one man band set opening for Ernie CLark & the Magnificent Bastards and The Hellbound Drifters . Scott played on an amp borrowed from Ernie Clark, and used the house drum set.
Black Cat Bone has always been a flexible project when it comes to who is actually in the band at any specific time.
I always wrote the songs simply, and tried to put my passion and energy into making something honest. When I had friends to help out with the music, it was something I really appreciated immensely. I really enjoy the collaborative process of creation. I valued what my friends contributed, and what I could learn from working with them.
When I perform solo, I feel confident in knowing that I have a repertoire of songs to keep myself grounded as I experiment with timing and rhythm. Sometimes I improvise a series of mini-songs during my live shows, rather than “stage talk” between songs. Being a One Man Band is strangely liberating in that you are absolutely free, even to the point of simply playing in a stream of consciousness manner; whatever my fingers and day-dreamy mind manage to assemble is what I am gonna play.
After getting back to my roots by recording an album as a one man band and playing several solo shows this summer, I have started working with a new drummer in anticipation of the next few shows lined up for this fall. 2 Shows in Grand Rapids MI, and one in Bay City, MI will have Black Cat Bone playing as a 2 man band. We are currently working on getting our set list rehearsed, and shooting some B-roll footage for mixing into videos for our Youtube channel. We are working on a couple new songs and contemplating shooting a revised mini-documentary EPK in the same vein as the 2017 video currently posted on our sites.
Thematically the song is inspired by a mixture of all those Jack Kerouac books I read when I was younger, drinking too damn much coffee for my own good, driving a Freightliner truck around the continental United States with nothing but my own thoughts to keep me company
The song is a hazy, Stoicist narrative that incisively cuts through the disillusionment of everyday life, but then looses focus as thoughts of that someone special keeps calling the heart back home.
The new album “The 4-track Tapes”has been released on our Bandcamp account today, June 13th. 2019. The album is also available on our site, as well as Spotify and other streaming services.
Featuring 11 tracks captured with a Tascam 4 track digital recorder and a Behringer cardiod microphone. All tracks were exported to Cakewalk and mixed down with a minimal amount of production in an effort to maintain that “analog tape recorder” vibe present on old school cassete tape porta-studios.
Those analog tape recorders were cheaply made. They didn’t have anything visual to inform you of what you were recording, except a few LED indicator lights to keep you from clipping the sound while recording. Mixing down was a matter of running an RCA cable into another tape deck to record what your recorder played while you manipulated a few volume or tone knobs in real-time. You physically had to adjust the knobs to bring down the bass while you raised the guitar up for a solo, or smoothly turn all four volume knobs at the same time to achieve a full band fade at the end of the track.
The primitive design of the machines left plenty of room for mistakes. But that was kind of what made everything so fun. Those mistakes made for some pretty interesting sounds.
“The 4-Treack Tapes” invokes the spirit of when I first started to learn open tunings and using the bottleneck slide. I was sitting in my tiny apartment with a broken Tascam tape recorder that I dug out of the trash and repaired. I started layering tracks to see what combinations of guitar riffs I could throw together to make sense of that brass slide bottle. Eventually I found my true voice on the guitar, and figured out how to write songs in the process. That crappy tape recorder was what allowed me to transition from just a guitar player to an actual songwriter.
Before I started Black Cat Bone, I had nobody to help me make the kind of music I make today. The 4-track tape recorder was my band.
A few years later I started the band with my wife Jewly, on cajon and djembe, using the material I created on that old 4-track Tascam as the starting point of what this band would eventually evolve into. The band I wanted had finally become a reality, transitioning from the tape deck to the stage (at Mulligan’s!). She was the first of a dozen friends/band members to come over the years. That is why I released this album today, June 13th, our anniversary.
Currently, Black Cat Bone is operating as a one man band. Our work schedules weren’t lining up, and I was ready to take a step back from the routine we had been maintaining as a band for the last few years. So while I figure things out, I decided to just focus on writing new songs, and playing shows whenever the mood hits me. I am just taking the time to enjoy going back to the woodshed and getting ready for whatever the next step in the evolution of Black Cat Bone brings my way. I hope you enjoy the new music.
Way back in 2002 I was freshly divorced, sitting at my kitchen table with a piece of shit guitar that could barely stay in tune. I figured out that i could drop tune it to open G and make some sweet sounds that made me reconsider throwing that guitar in the trash. So I bought a broken Tascam 4 track tape recorder and repaired it. I bought a microphone and a brass slide bottle. I bought some cheap beer. I put it all together and recorded a low-fi demo of the results. It was primitive, and crude. It was perfect!
16 years later, I find myself at another proverbial crossroads. So I go back to the beginning and break out the digital recorder, a microphone, and some beer. 3 Sessions in and I have 7 tracks that I feel have some promise to them. Simple and primitive and pure. Another session or two and I will mix it all down quickly and upload to Spotify, Bandcamp, and Soundcloud. The goal is to be ready for the airwaves in the summer of 2019.