NEW ALBUM: "BLOOD YEAR"

CD Release May 11, at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz

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PERFORMANCE CALENDAR

Saturday, June 3

Redwood Mountain Faire at Roaring Camp Railroads

Felton, Calif.

Bryn Loosley and the Back Pages take the stage at 11am on Saturday for this fun, family-oriented local festival.

Tickets at www.redwoodmountainfaire.com - All ages 

Bryn Loosley is a teacher and a songwriter in Santa Cruz, California. His 2008 debut, The Wrecker, was hailed by the Santa Cruz Sentinel as "a quiet stunner of an album that puts him, artistically, in the league of such better known singer/songwriters as Josh Ritter and Freedy Johnston." His second album, Blood Year, contains 12 songs, one inspired by each month of the year. (Click For Full Biography)

Saturday
Dec182010

Video from the Kuumbwa

Bryn Loosely and the Back Pages Part 2 from Brian Granbery on Vimeo.

Our friend Brian Granbery has slaved over this very clean video recording of our most recent performance, October 1st at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz. It isn't yet final, but it looks great. Thank you, Brian for all the hard work.

Monday
Nov222010

April - "Like a Lamb"


Easter is a pretty pagan affair. It doesn’t take too much thought to view the story of Christ’s death and subsequent rebirth as a metaphor for the coming of spring. And there is evidence to suggest that the biblical stories, and even the name, of Easter are in part an adaptation of older pagan and Hindu traditions.

I went to Sunday school every week as a kid. I was the last male teenage alto in the choir. I went to youth group. I listened attentively. I was baptized. I took part in the nativity play and I studied the gospels. I haven’t used all this knowledge too often, and I don’t often wax theological. Frankly, I don’t know what I believe, and it doesn’t greatly bother me. But I suspect that if times ever got really tough, all that silent, subconscious, lurking Jesus that chaperoned me through my formative years would find its way to the top and come bubbling over.

In writing a song about the month of April, the coming of spring seemed to be the most suitable topic. And perhaps unsurprisingly, into my allegory of an awakening world, spilled a whole bunch of lurking Jesus. And I started singing higher. Once a choir boy, always a choir boy.

Tuesday
Apr272010

Recording "New Year's Day"

New Year's Day by brynloosley

In thinking about how to record this album-to-be, I feel it would only be fair to track the album as it was written. The same way the year passes: one month at a time.

This has some drawbacks. It's potentially more expensive - it costs more to pay an engineer to set up drum mics twelve times, rather than once to capture twelve drum tracks. Also, the songs may not have any overarching sonic quality that binds them together as an album.

It also some big advantages. First of all, it allows me to fufill my goal of not spending any money to produce Blood Year. By recording one song at a time, I can raise money by playing shows or selling music. This might mean it will take years to create the final recorded product, but I can wait.

More importantly, recording one song at a time allows me to consider exactly how best to record each track. That began with "New Year's Day".

This is a pedal steel song. I could hear the pedal steel rising behind the acoustic guitar every time I played the song. This meant I'd need to record the song with Bryan Daste. Bryan is a pedal steel player, owner of Magic Closet Studios in Portland, a member of my once-and-future band The Last Minute, and a good friend.

What you hear above is the product of 16 hours in Magic Closet Studios over April 9 and 10 of 2010. Bryan engineered and mixed this semi-final version of the track. He also plays the pedal steel and sings backing vocals. Last Minute members Adam Mack and Matt Johnson play drums and bass. Mont Christopher Hubbard performs the piano and mellotron.

I'm very pleased with this first step towards documenting the songs being amassed here this year. I hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday
Apr272010

March - "March 2007"

March 2007 by brynloosley

Not so long ago, but a very long time ago, I made a new beginning in March. At the time it felt rather tragic. It has also led to most of the best parts of my life.

This song isn't about March, the month. It's not an abstraction. It's about my March, in 2007. And I wanted the song to reflect both the sense of loss, and the feeling of promise.

Friday
Feb262010

February - "The Great Indoors"

Back at the end of December, after I finished writing "New Years Day," I wrote a list. It looks like this:

1. It's cold
2. It's short
3. My birthday
4. Groundhogs Day
5. Presidents

Not exacly a basis for a stunning song. With March already in the bag, and January coming out naturally, it appeared February was going to be the first song I'd have to force.

Forcing a song is a dangerous game. The best songs write themselves, three of my favorites agree. Paul McCartney heard "Yesterday" in a dream, woke up and wrote it down. Samuel Taylor Colerige wrote "Kubla Kahn" the same way. Neil Young says, "Stop trying... If you don't have an idea and you don't hear anything going over and over in your head, don't sit down and try to write a song. You know, go and mow the lawn."

Blood Year flies in the face of this. By committing to a song a month, I'm forcing myself to work in a new, less organic way. The song for February would be the first test of this.

When I began, I wanted to make it a short, sweet song. I had "Her Majesty" in mind as a model. Short in honor of the month. Sweet because the January song is ponderous, and the March song is outright depressing.

I ended up with this. At five minutes, it isn't short, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. The song went through a lot of iterations, starting as a shuffle and morphing to piano pop and then a ballad. Unable to pick between the pop and the ballad, I mashed the two together.

Neil Young wouldn't have approved of the process (and possibly not the end result), but it comes as a relief to know that I can start empty handed and end up with a song. Making something out of nothing doesn't feel natural. But it would be a long year if it wasn't possible.

Bryn