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Dreamwalkers: Harmony as a Lesson About Life 

Hello Dreamwalkers Family and Friends,

Debbie Stern, Dave Ross and I had a vocal rehearsal session in which we worked on harmonies. Debbie is the "Queen of Harmony." I have great respect for her ability, talent and experience in this arena. So with that in mind Debbie took the lead in planning and manifesting the harmonies. It was a little like being in a masterclass. Harmony involves more than hitting the right note. It involves a bit of merging with the lead singer in terms of emotion and tonal quality. None of the voices can really stick out, as the three together create a vocal "chord." 

Dave has a great voice and gives us greater flexibility in terms of what we as a band can present to the audience. Three part harmony is difficult, but worth it. When we hit it, it's a rush, sending electricity through my body. As in life, not every song needs harmony singing, and certainly not three part harmony. But when it's indicated it's quite powerful.

Stay in harmony with your world..

Peace,

Dr Dreamwalker

Dreamwalkers: Music Is Our Healer 

Greetings to all Dreamwalkers out there,

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you think you’ve awakened but you’re actually still dreaming and you’re about to encounter something disquieting? That’s what it feels like around here right now. We think we’re climbing out of the coronavirus nightmare and we get dragged back in. That being said, playing in this band is a healing balm for all of us. We address the songs with love and energy, and hold each other with respect and support. It’s a fun place to be for several hours, a bubble not of crazy of the world.

Dave Ross brought in a cover song he wanted to play, “Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad,” and it was a blast. Debbie Stern put the harmonies together and it was great fun to sing. Dave handed his bass to Tony Sheppard and took over an electric guitar. This one will be added to our set list. I had a lot of fun singing and playing my own song, “The Outsider.” This one is Johnny Cash meets The X-Files. I think of it as a western apocalypse. Although I wrote it years ago it is dead on what is happening today.

I’ve known Tony Sheppard for many years, and he is such a versatile and skilled guitar player. Last night was one of those nights he took the roof off the building. I can’t wait for everyone out there to hear him take center stage with his brilliant lead guitar. As we move forward getting ready to play out, I continue to grow in appreciation of Debbie Stern’s songs and singing. She is another mostly hidden genius living in our midst. I think people are going to be blown away by her.

The heartbeat of the band, drummer Daniel Polyak. He is the perfect drummer for us, playing with great feel an emotion. He’s also a comedic foil for me so I don’t get too serious. He makes sure there is a space for fun.

Bottom line? Our time together is an oasis, but one we are looking forward to sharing with everyone. I’m unsure of what the future will bring in general, but I know that we plan to be out there providing a bubble of music for our fellow travelers in this dream to have solace in the chaos.

Peace,

Dr Dreamwalker 

Songs: The Word, Don’t Give Me A Second Thought (Debbie), The Redemption (Rich), Louisiana Playin’ On My Mind Again (Debbie) Tuesday Afternoon, Something’Bout That Boy (Debbie), Only Live Is Real (Rich), Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad, Machiavelli’s Daughter (Rich), The Outsider (Rich).

 

 

 

Dreamwalkers: report from the recording studio 

Hello all my Dreamwalkers out there,

Tuesday evening, drummer Daniel Polyak and executive producer and recording engineer Patrick Russini worked on drum tracks for my song, “Two Insomnias.” I know I’m not supposed to have favorites songs of my own‘s like having your favorite child, but if I were to pick one this might be it.   I spoke to Daniel last night and he said that he and Patrick have this wonderful simpatico about how to get the drum sound right and make it frame the song. I listen to the track today and it was terrific.

Our recording process is off to a wonderful start and I need to thank Patrick Russini for his hard work and expertise in setting up to record the drums. Can you imagine 14 microphones? Of course they wouldn’t sound great unless our heartbeat, Daniel Polyak was doing such a great job with the playing.

There are many songs left to go, and once the rhythm tracks are done we will have a lot more flexibility in bringing the rest of the instruments and vocals on board. It’s such an exciting process and I suspect it will parallel the growth of our live performance.

Peace, Dr Dreamwalker
 

 

 

Dreamwalkers: Album Tracks Started 

Hello Dreamwalkers Family and Friends,

we’ve been waiting for this night for a while. Pat Russini set up 14 microphones around Daniel (the heartbeat) Polyak’s drums and we spent time dialing in all the drum sounds on Pro Tools. With mercury in retrograde motion some glitches would not be unusual and it took us a while to sort everything out, but once we did, Daniel’s drums sounded superb and we got some great drum tracks to my original song, “Suggestion By Echo.” Listening to it as we made several passes I was amazed at how good the song actually is, despite the fact I wrote it. Even though we didn’t get everything done the way we had hoped for, I feel very positive about our process, our band, and our songs. 
 

Peace,

 

Dr Dreamwalker 

 

Dreamwalkers: The Band Emerges 

Hello Dreamwalkers Family and Friends,

There are moments in life when you can feel a shift. Perhaps it was due to our recording the scratch tracks, but the energy in the rehearsal room was alive and the band played at a higher level than ever before. The music was filled with energy, everyone hit their marks and we had a collective cohesiveness that you could feel. . . and hear. We went through the first set efficiently and then Debbie Stern previewed a new song for us, "Don't Talk Behind My Back," a real rocker. I think I've affected Debbie, as she said, "I never wrote a rock and roll song, but that gal really made me angry (technically she used other words)." Sounds like rock and roll to me.

Daniel Polyak (The Heartbeat) was absolutely on, unfolding some major league rock and roll chops. Dave Ross brought us a Grateful Dead song to cover, "Goin Down The Road Feeling Bad," which was a lot of fun. I brought Pete Townshend's "Let My Love Open The Door." Although we are an original band, we love to play covers as well. I think both of these will find their way to our setlist.

Tomorrow evening, we start on the journey of moving from scratch tracks to real tracks as the Dreamwalkers 2.0 album (Tentatively titled, "Music Is The Ride") starts to take shape. Very exciting times for our band.

Peace,

Dr Dreamwalker


Songs:

Everything is Changing  (Rich)

Dancing With The Man In The Moon (Debbie)

Love Is A Rose (Cover)

Crazy Movie (Rich)

End of The Line (Cover)

Lucky Me (Debbie)

Diamond Filled Bouquet (Rich)

Good To See You Gone (Debbie)

Road Song (Tony)

You May Be The One (Rich and Tony)

Get Together (Cover)

Dreamwalkers Album 2.0. . . Phase One Completed 

Hello Dreamwalkers Family and Friends,

The band finished the final scratch tracks for our second album. I was really happy to hear Tony Sheppard's "Road Song," in good shape. It has a kind of western/surfing tone which I love. We played it out in the past, and it's really fun to play. Tony was really on for all songs tonight, but was spectacular on this one. We played Debbie's "How I Love To Love You Lord," a love song to God. This song is as gorgeous as you would expect from the title. Finally, we did my own, "Silence Between The Worlds," an homage to my own spiritual teachers, some of whom show up in disguise. 

I thank Daniel Polyak (The Heartbeat) for being more of a clock tonight. He sets the stage for everything that comes next, as he will begin laying down the drum tracks that will be on the album. Dave Ross gave another steady performance on bass guitar, so thank you Dave. Patrick Russini, again at the controls for sound has his work cut out for him, but I have great confidence that he will put together a fantastic album.

This is a dream manifesting in real time. What a great group of talented and heart filled musicians. The songs are terrific and I cannot wait to hear the finished product. We will begin rehearsing next week to play out. 

Peace,

Dr Dreamwalker

 

Dreamwalkers Album 2.0 Moving Forward with Special Guest 

Hello Dreamwalkers Family and Friends,

The Band continued to record scratch tracks, and we are almost done. We can wrap up the final scratch tracks next week. We had a guest playing tonight, Jeff Hocker, one of the founders of the band, played bass guitar on the song, "Two Insomnias." Jeff and I played Two Insomnias many times while he was in the band and I thought it was fitting he would play on one of my favorite tunes. We updated the song with a new arrangement and after a few passes, the band knocked it out. It was great fun to be playing with Jeff again. I thank our current bass guitar player, Dave Ross for being so gracious in allowing Jeff to play in his spot for this song. 

We also worked on a song I always wanted the band to do, "Magnetic North." When I found out that Tampa International Airport had to change their runway settings because magnetic north had changed, I thought about what would happen if the compasses didn't work while an expedition was exploring a polar region of the planet. It seemed like a fitting metaphor for where we are today, lost, and the compass cannot be trusted. 

We worked on two of Debbie Stern's songs, "Don't Give Me A Second Thought (Let Me Be Your First)" and "Something About That Boy." Her songs are sweet expressions of relationships and love. We had a great time recording them.

I thank my bandmates, Tony Sheppard on lead guitar, Dave Ross on bass guitar, Daniel Polyak (The Heartbeat), and Debbie Stern. I also thank Patrick Russini, who is making sure the recording is dialed in and on target. Finally, I thank Jeff Hocker. It's always great to play with you, my brother.

Once we are done with the scratch tracks, which will be most likely next week, we can begin the task of filling in the skeleton. The songs are sounding great, the band is coming together, and soon we will be playing out. That should be great fun. See you there.

Peace,

Dr Dreamwalker

Dreamwalkers Album 2.0: Progress 

Hi Dreamwalkers Family and Friends,

We completed four scratch tracks last week, and our goal was four more, but things went so well, we finished five tracks, which bring us to nine. Tony Sheppard stole the night. We all know him as a versatile player, able to play Latin, Jazz, Ska, and just about any style you can name. He let loose his rock and roll heart tonight, with some spectacular playing on my original songs, "Music Is The Ride" and "Suggestion By Echo." Across the studio I was in awe. Patrick Russini was once again steady at the controls, bringing helpful suggestions to keep us on track. We recorded three Debbie Stern songs, "Call Me Love," "Good To See You Gone," and "Tricks On Me." Wait until you hear how terrific these tunes are. Daniel Polyak (the Heartbeat) and Dave Ross put in a strong rhythm section. Remembering these are scratch tracks is important because the goals are to get the tempo, arrangement, and feel right. Daniel said, "I want it to be simple and strong. I'll save the fancy stuff for the final recording." Still, if tonight's playing was indicative of what the album will sound like, we are all in for a treat.

Peace,

Dr Dreamwalker

Dreamwalkers Begin Recording Album 2.0 

Hello Dreamwalkers Family and Friends,

Monday evening was a noteworthy event as Dreamwalkers Band engaged album 2.0. I give much appreciation to our heartbeat, drummer Daniel Polyak who generously offered his studio as the site to begin. We practice at his place regularly, but I thought some appreciation is indicated. Also, appreciation to Patrick Russini, who will be executive producer and recording engineer for the project. 

Pat is meticulous regarding sound, so he carefully set us up to do scratch tracks for each of our songs. In this process, the band plays to create a skeleton of the song, so to speak, and once everyone is happy with arrangement and tempo, we move to the next song. Later, we go back and re-record every instrument and voice, one at a time. For example, Pat will extensively mic the drums, and Daniel will play to the rest of the track. At the end, every instrument will be re-recorded with superior quality both in performance and sound. 

We wound up finishing four songs: Debbie's "I Think I Think Too Much," and "Louisiana Playing On My Mind," and two of mine, "The Outsider," sort of Johnny Cash meets the X-Files, and "Everything Is Changing," which of course it is. The process is hard fun, exhilarating but exhausting. It was amazing to hear the songs coalesce under the pressure of creating the structure of the track. Everyone has to be on the same page here, and creative ideas were flowing as to how to make the arrangement for each song.

I have great faith in these songs and my bandmates. Dreamwalkers 2.0 (unnamed as yet) is going to be excellent.

Peace,

Dr Dreamwalker

 

Dreamwalkers: Music Is The Ride 

Good morning Dreamwalkers Family and Friends,

The band rehearsed Monday evening, and I'm going to quote Debbie Stern, "Everyone is coming in to their own with creative ideas and what’s great is that we are all willing to listen to each other without attitudes.. that is true respect!" I agree with that sentiment. 

I wrote a song years ago about three concerts that changed my life. The song is called Music Is The Ride, and has the hook, "Life is an amusement park, Music is the Ride. I took my son, Dan, then 12 years old, to see his first concert, Bruce Springsteen in 2009. His exclamation, "I'M SO GLAD WE'RE HERE," and THIS IS AN AMUSEMENT PARK WHERE MUSIC IS THE RIDE." reminded me of two concerts that changed my life, The Beatles at Shea Stadium in Queens, and The Who at Fillmore East in New York City. The Springsteen concert in Tampa, brought me back to how great live music could be and how it is transformational in nature, at least for me. I wrote most of the song when we got back, and recorded at demo (thank you Wolfgang Kohler). I reworked the song years later, from the perspective of the child thinking back to his first concert and his father's love for the guitar and music, and added the final verse about returning home, changed forever. 

Yesterday, I presented the song to the band, and they surfed the 'Bo Diddley' style riff like they had been playing it forever. Tony Sheppard was a wonder, playing rock and roll leads in th style of Jimmy Page, but with his own fantastic twists on the sound. Dave Ross got the bass line right away, Debbie Stern took the harmonies, and our heartbeat, Daniel Polyak got the beat as if he wrote the song. I was enthralled. We are going to add it to our setlist and it will be on the album. It's the kind of magic rock and roll can provide, after all, "Life is an amusement park, Music is the Riiiiiiiiiiide."

Peace,

Dr Dreamwalker

This is a photo taken at the Springsteen concert. Dan was 12 and I looked a bit different myself. We both were wearing Rickenbacker t-shirts. 

 

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