Tag: New Releases

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!

New Release: Other Analogues

2020 has made me nostalgic for simpler times, so I used my ample free time to record an all electric improvisation in the spirit of 2014’s Analogues of Infinity.

Really, this was an excuse to play with the Electro-Harmonix Grand Canyon delay. Each track is an improvisation through one of its different delay modes. No real looping on this, but I did record the looper in the same session. The result of that is on Phantom Canyon.

Also, please remind me to never release an album on election day again.

New Release: After Disobedience (Single)

This is an odd one…

An instrumental musing on the affect of mediation on rules.

This piece is divided into 5 major sections:

Structure (0:00)
The piece introduces its harmonic structure, first with a drone, then adding a synth pattern (0:15), and finally add chords on electric piano (0:31).

Stumbling (0:46)
The guitar enters, trying but failing to play the pattern. The electric piano responds to failure by skipping chords in an attempt to remain consonant.

Testing Edges (1:18)
The guitar attempts to solo on a very fast and difficult series of chords, failing yet again. The electric piano now highlights the guitar’s mistakes by shifting chords by a half step, increasing dissonance.

Breaking Free (1:53)
The guitar now solos on a ten-tone scale, avoiding only the most “out” dissonances. The electric piano doggedly plays along with the synth’s pattern, abandoning any interaction with the guitar.

New Consonance (2:21 to the end)
The electric piano shifts to a series of chords designed to allow for a (relatively) high degree of consonance between the pattern and any note on the guitar. The guitar now solos freely until the end of the piece.

It’s worth mentioning that the “Stumbling” section nearly broke me. I wrote it to be misplayed, avoided practicing it, and set the music on a stand several feet away, all in the hope of increasing errors. It worked. And I got so frustrated at my playing, even though it was wrong when wrong was intentional, that I had to take a break and come back to it another day.

The Bandcamp download includes backing tracks and a leadsheet should you wish to annoy yourself playing wrong rightly. Or practice and play right wrongly.

Also, the title is because I sketched out the piece after watching the movie “Disobedience”.

New Album: Grateful Destination by Graphite Addiction

15 years ago today Tim Carmichael, Pete Ehrmann, and I jammed together for the first time. Today, we’re releasing our 5th album.

We had planned to spend early 2020 recording a collection of originals, improvisations, and a standard or two. Obviously, plans changed. But, as Tim says in the liner notes, “In crazy times we all have to be like Jazz: learn to listen and improvise”. So here’s our album, improvised in it’s production as much as its performance.

About The Tunes

Tracks 1-3 are fully improvised jams. We recorded these on February 14th of this year with no charts, no idea what we’d play, just a lot of listening.

  1. Pete kicks things off with Groove EZ We Do. He’s been on hand percussion for most Graphite albums, so getting to hear him back on kit is a treat.
  2. If there is a best recorded example of what we do, it’s Conversations. Tim and I trade questions, answers, and punchlines while Pete lays down an unyielding groove.
  3. Traffic Saturation is a musical ode to commuting.

Tracks 4-7 are a few of the orignals we had planned. These are from our initial session in November of 2019.

  1. Message for Becky is Pete Ehrmann’s composition. Written for his wife, it’s been one of my favorite tunes to play for years.
  2. Mental Morphology started out as a odd funk groove I wrote one day while teaching. Pete decided to play it as a fast swing and Tim retitled it. Both things improved it immensely.
  3. Years ago, I stopped at Mike O’Shay’s in Longmont for a late-night dinner. Sitting at the bar was Eddie. He told a tipsy tale of catching a penguin (it was an emperor penguin!) at the St. Louis zoo. Penguin Eddie is an attempt to capture his masterful speaking cadence in musical form.
  4. And we’ll close this chapter of our musical journey with Tim’s Future Meetings, in hopes of seeing you again soon.

If you dig what you hear, check us out on the streaming service of your choice. Or, if you’re truly old school, you can buy our CDs on Amazon.

Thanks for listening,
-Vic