Latin Grammys, CJ Mills, Andrea Von Kampen, Jens Lehman…

 Big McLargeHuge Update:  Latin Grammys, CJ Mills EP, Andrea Von Kampen EP, Jens Lehman Album

GrammysRamonGreetings from my Puerto Rico to Chicago connecting flight. What began as a vacation was a trip that ended up being wonderfully sprinkled by a musical side-journey. While staying in San Juan, I remembered that one of my best friends and percussion mastermind, Marcelo Arevalo, had recorded in PR somewhat recently. I shot him a text and, sure enough, it was in San Juan. Additionally, the engineers for his project happened to be Ramón Martinez and Carlos Velasquez. These two guys are legends for their 30+ years of engineering in PR and the Caribbean. We set up a meeting, and the tour/conversation was great. It was awesome to connect with such accomplished people, and they gave me tidbits I’ll never forget. I recognized their Harrison board right away (it was the same model used on Thriller—my son’s name is Quincy—they got a kick out of that), but one couldn’t help but be enthralled by their 23 Grammy’s chilling out by the console. The stories they told are between us, but I’ll just say that skill, hard work, and how you treat people beat everything, and I hope to get some work done with/for these guys down the road.

 

CJCJ Mills, one of Omaha’s most talented and soulful singer/songwriters, just dropped her digital release titled Quiet recently. Of the five tracks, I performed any combination of drums, bass, electric, and acoustic guitars on four of them in addition to producing, mixing, and mastering those four tracks at my studio. CJ is an incredibly easy artist to work with, and certainly among the most talented local artists I’ve ever worked with. Most of the work on her tracks involved adding sparse, tasty instrumentation and getting the hell out of the way of her incredible vocals. If I have to pick a “best” vocalist in the area right now, she’s it, hands down. We’re getting together in mid-July to hash out/map out more of her LP and begin plans for a collaboration project in the future. I can’t wait. Also, be sure to check out her physical CD Release in Omaha in early August. I’ll be playing bass. If you haven’t caught her before, it is no exaggeration when I say her voice is a legitimate mix between Lauryn Hill and India.Arie.  Take a listen to the funky “Need I Say More” below:

 

AndreaVKNext week, I’ll be working on a project for a lovely singer/songwriter named Andrea Von Kampen. I have done a ton of work (American Smoothie, Catherland, etc.) with Andrea’s brother, David, who is one of the most well-rounded musicians I’ve ever met (UNL Professor in addition to being an incredible pianist and composer). I must say, my expectations were high for Andrea when she came in to map out her EP songs, and she exceeded all of them. Not only is she an outstanding folk guitarist, she accompanies this skill set with a keen writing ability and beautiful voice. I have an outstanding folk-grass group of musicians set to make this a truly killer project. It’ll be a great week!

 

Jens Jens Lehman is an old acquaintance-turned-friend-turned-awesome client of mine who is currently working on one of my favorite projects ever–his solo record.  I have yet to meet a songwriter like Jens.  He’s totally unconventional yet very musically knowledgable and sound as an instrumentalist and singer.  The tunes so far are like an offspring of Brian Wilson, Beatles, Dilla, and Neil Young.  Take a listen to “All That We Could Do”!

GIGS:

I’ll be in Kearney Friday and Saturday performing a couple of my last shows for D*FUNK at Cunningham’s. It’s been a blast playing with these guys, and they have an awesome dude—Kevin Witcher—coming in to take over. They’ll kill.

I’ll be doing a lot of writing and recording this month in addition to mastering my next finished album, Over the Bridge, which will be released in September. I have the best players I’ve ever worked with playing in my band, Lucas Kellison and The Undisco Kids, right now. We’re up to an 8-piece. We’ll be playing at Omaha’s Hullabaloo Festival on July 23rd in addition to Lincoln’s Railyard Series on July 30th. See you then!