Ambient Presences

An entry in the Bandcamp Blogging Bandwagon. Join in here.

There's something to having friends who make things that you can enjoy on a daily basis. Their work recreates an ambient presence of who they are and what they mean to you. I am grateful to have friendships with musicians, and during these times it means more now than ever to support them.

Today, Bandcamp is waiving their revenue shares for sales of artists' music. Prompted by this, Tom Critchlow announced “The Bandcamp Blogging Bandwagon”, an urging to bloggers to share Bandcamp artists' work for the day to drive discovery & interest to indie artists. As Tom puts it,

In these times we need cozy blogging structures and we need support for independents more than ever.

In light of that I am going to go through the shelf in my online living room and recommend some of my friends' music on Bandcamp. These are people who have meant a great deal to me but who I feel I've neglected due to distance in many forms. For one, we are all scattered across the country. For another, I took a different career trajectory — going from studying for a Doctorate in Music (classical guitar performance to be specific) to working in software. This shift alienated me from the music scenes I was once a part of, let alone not playing as regularly as I used to.

So may these recommendations not only be an homage to these musical friendships but a reinforcement of them. Even if I don't reach out as much as I used to, may this gesture not only help them a little but also encourage me to get back in touch. Times like these remind you of what's most important. As Bix illustrated, you can still be social with social distancing. And that's especially true with those you care about who you feel distanced with.

Someone to Ride the River With

Great bluegrass/folk style music from great friends. I know Terence and Jamie from my time at grad school. Both had a warmth to them that was inspiring to say the least. I learned so much of how to be a musician and a person from Terence. The least you can do is buy their music. This album in particular is with a phenomenal supporting band — crazy mandolin and extremely tasteful bass playing. (Link if embed takes a while)


This band was a bit of a surprise to me — Terence & Jamie of the above band are joined with three other friends in an indie-alternative-folk band that's a blast to listen to. The same great songwriting of STRTRW with an awesome electric sound. Two of the three joining them are good friends of mine too — Galen & Denver. I studied classical guitar with Denver and Galen & I organized this crazy music series called “The Wheel.” The concept of it was that, instead of a set list of performing acts, people would spin this giant wheel created by Galen that would determine who the next act would be. There were also spots on the wheel for out-there musical challenges that mixed things up. (Link)

Maxwell Denny

Whenever I find someone who also likes The Bad Plus & John Zorn, I know we'll be good friends. I met Max while in grad school, him being an undergrad at the time. His musical tastes and experimental bent made him a kindred soul. I got to be a part of a lot of fascinating performances of Max's music. One which I'll never forget was providing dynamic music for a short play with two other guitarists. We also organized a monthly series of concerts at a local art gallery for a year. So many wonderful memories of that too — from quirky singing circles to beautiful classical music. His music is adventurously inventive. (Link)

Hudson Abadeer

This is from my good friend Ryan. Been grateful to jam with him on many occasions and be in a couple of bands with. The crazy thins is that he's an amazing drummer, one of the best that I know, but this project his singer-songwriter stuff. I got to see this project progress into some amazing music that to this day I still hum to myself. Even his guitar playing has gotten to a point that I wonder how he comes up with some of the riffs to his tune. It's sort of been on a hiatus but I hope he continues it one day. Maybe I'll have to talk to him about that. (Link)