New Release: Umm…Whaaat? by Richard Ellis (Produced by Vic Dillahay)

This is “Umm…Whaaat?”, a guitar and vocal improvisation by Richard Ellis. He played it on July 23rd, 2021 at Spring Creek Music .

It is one continuous track. It is 25 minutes and 5 seconds long. It is completely improvised. It is presented exactly as it was performed, with no edits or overdubs.

The cover is by Kiley Ellis.

You should listen to it now.

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New Release: Music to Squeak By

New today is “Music to Squeak By”, my ninth solo album. Inspired by the classic guitar instrumental albums of the 50s and 60s, like those of Howard Roberts and The Ventures, it runs the musical gamut from jazz to blues to funk. There’s even a somewhat-warped boogie thrown in for good measure. While it was originally intended as a vehicle to collaborate with a few old friends on some of my original tunes, the shutdowns caused by COVID-19 changed it into a more solitary project. I wound up playing or programing all the instruments on this recording, for a very personal take on these compositions.

The record opens with “Grin”. A fusion tune that manages to evoke both Pat Metheny and Toto, it sets the mood for a sometimes cerebral set that still cracks a smile. “Penguin Eddie” follows, with an instrumental funk tribute to a tale of attempted penguin abduction. From its smooth harmonies and dulcet tones, “Laetitia’s Lost Chords” would be firmly in the easy-listening camp if not for its constantly shifting meter. “Serva Jugum” continues to warp time, but with a hard-driving gopuccha yati-inspired groove that gives way to solos on a funk waltz. “Kiddo” closes side A with a 12-tone row disguised as a swing ballad. It’s a tribute to my grandfather who was both a lover of irony and completely tone deaf.

Side B opens with “Smolkin’s Boogie”, a quick boogie-woogie blues that wanders through a few more keys than usual. “Half The Times I’ve Failed”, originally written as a example for lessons, is a study in melodic constraint and the lack thereof, as it moves from moody monotone to free noise. “Frickle Frackle” is a minor blues because every guitar album needs one. A tongue-in-cheek take on the exotic guitar genre, “Somewhere East of Omaha” intentionally misses a smörgåsbord of world influences, landing somewhere else entirely. “Ricky Loves LuLu” closes the album. There was a bridge by Erie, Colorado with these words graffitied on it that I would drive under on my way to college in Denver. When the railroad repainted it, “Ricky Still Loves LuLu” appeared the next week written in the the same handwriting. I think that deserves a song.

It’s also my first release available on lathe-cut vinyl, for the true vintage experience. Check it out on the streaming service or disk of your choice and thanks for listening!

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New Release: Spring Cleaning by Tim Carmichael and Vic Dillahay

Tim Carmichael and I have a new album! We decided to celebrate getting vaccinated and things starting to open up with a bit of free improvisation. We hadn’t played together since recording Graphite’s Thoughtful Departure in February of 2020 but we weren’t too rusty and the ideas still flowed. As Tim says in the liner notes “When you listen to this album imagine yourself getting together with a friend over a cup of coffee to catch up and enjoy the stories of your life’s journey. And, ideally, you will enjoy listening to this album with a great friend.”

Check it out at Bandcamp, on CD, or the music service of your choice!