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A Man of Many Hats

From the first day I started playing bass in high school I knew I wanted to be a musician. Not everyone around me was as excited about this life choice as I was. For the past 20 or so years I have been asked what it is I do for a living. I've shared on this blog the different ways I have labeled myself over the years, in particular, that I am a self-employed musician, not an unemployed musician. I have made my living wages from music endeavors for years now. There have certainly been times when I've had day jobs, but only as a short term fix while my music life was in flux. Today I want to share yet another way of expressing yourself to those pesky relatives when they complain that you “need to get a real job.”
Today's advice is simple: You are a musician. That's it. You don't have to label yourself as a teacher, performer, youtuber, and anything else that comes with your daily life. Being a musician means you are all these things and probably many more. A c…
Recent posts

Successfully Failing

Ahoy! Today I'd like to talk to you about my recent experience with a challenging video game. It does come back to music though, I promise, so hear me out.

I set a pretty high goal for myself this year. I'm going to finish all three Dark Souls video games. For many of you this may seem like an odd goal but I'm a gamer and I've long heard about how difficult this game is and have never played through them. I'd seen a couple reviews lately for the remastered release of the original game and decided it was finally time. I got a copy and began to play.

This game is punishingly difficult. For anyone who doesn't know, the ad campaign ran the slogan "Prepare to Die" and within just a few minutes of starting the game I was already dead. Several times over in fact. The game gives you no directions, no hints, no clues, no sense of how the mechanics work except for a very minimal tutorial. All this to say that the game lived up to its reputation as being difficu…

Let's Get Political, Political

Greetings from The Music Bowl! I'm The Wonderfish!

Congratulations on reading this far - I was scared to mention politics in the title due to our current political situations.

This week, The Killers released a music video for their song, Land of the Free. They went old school, calling it a short film just like Michael Jackson used to. Did I mention Spike Lee directed it? I find it quite difficult to argue against the lyrics or the portrayal of the situation in the film, however, I'd rather you take a look and a listen and see for yourself.

More importantly, I'd like to raise a point about politics in music as this is a topic that I think about often, and I've been thinking about it for at least 20 years. I find that I can usually group listeners into two general categories: those that hate it when artists get political and those that discuss the politics presented by the artist when it holds enough of their interest.

The people that hate it, really hate it.

In my own e…

Happy Birthday, Dave!

Time for another edition of Fin Mail, Heard style. One of my favorite musicians of all time is Dave Matthews. On Wednesday of this week, January 9th, he celebrated his 52nd. In honor of him and what his music has meant to me over the years you’ll find my letter of appreciation along with a few links to help get you familiar with his music if you’re not, and will give you an inside look into my favorite tracks of his if you are. Who are you inspired by? Leave us a comment or shoot us an email and let us know!

Dear Dave,
Happy Birthday! I hope you got to spend your day relaxing with family and not on the road travelling to another show. You music has been one of the largest inspirational forces in my life both as a musician, and as a human. I remember countless hours as a teenager lying on the floor of my room blasting Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash and Before These Crowded Streets. No matter what was happening in my life your music always fit as the perfect backdrop. Crash was …

A Little Bit of Resolve

Greetings from The Music Bowl! I'm The Wonderfish!

A new year is here! That's right, it's 2019 and I know you're all feeling the weight of those resolutions on your shoulders. For the first time, my resolution is based on music and I kind of, accidentally, on purpose, turned one idea into three... And I thought if I wrote about them here on The Music Bowl, it would amp up my determination.

My 2019 resolution was inspired by a post from this very blog. Heard wrote about listening journals and I cannot believe that in all my years working on music, I've never kept a journal for listening. Well, this is the year! I'll even share my first album with you - here's the opening track:

100 albums is the goal, but I won't be disappointed if I don't quite reach it, and I'll even be a little surprised if I manage to keep track of all the music. Just having the resolve to attempt this kind of record keeping caused me to dig in with my own practicing as well.…

2018 Album of the Year!

Greetings from The Music Bowl! I'm The Wonderfish!

Last week, Heard and I revealed our 2018 Shortlist for the best albums. In our last post of the year, we present our Top 5 Albums and our picks for Album of the Year. We cannot believe the amount of great music that came out this year and, as fans of all types of music, we think the records listed below deserve some attention. As always, we want to hear from you - drop us an email or leave a comment and let us know what you listened to in 2018.

Shark's in the water! See you next year!

Heard's Top 5:

5. Dave Matthews Band "Come Tomorrow."
Even as a lifelong DMB fan this album wasn't a shoe in for high honors. The past few albums have taken several listens for me to get into. Not this one. From the first listen I was a fan and seeing most of these tunes live only confirmed a top 5 spot.

4. Circles "The Last One."
 If you're a fan of progressive metal you don't want to miss this one. Some AMAZI…

2018 Shortlist


What an amazing year we had for new music! Last year you may recall that The Wonderfish and I only released a top 5 before we announced our picks for Album of the Year. This year we genuinely couldn't just give you all 5 albums each. Instead, we revamped our Album of the Year process. You'll see below that we each listed our top 5, and one of those 5 will be revealed next week as our respective 2018 Album of the Year. The remaining shortlist consists of 15 albums that at one point were either in the running or just too good not to promote. Make sure to check out anything you haven't heard and stay tuned for next week's reveals for Album of the Year!

What's on your list?

Until next time,

Heard's Top 5 (in no particular order)
Lydian Collective - Adventure
Circles - The Last One
Rubble Bucket - Sun Machine
Donny McCaslin - Blow
Dave Matthews Band - Come Tomorrow

Heard's Shortlist (in no particular order)
Aaron Parks - Little Big
Ben Wendel - The Seas…