Counting my money, Loading my guns
The Dick Song
Where'd my Motown go
Magic Fraga is an old fashioned
story teller. Many of his stories come from his life experiences but no all.
None the less his story telling is interesting and is wrapped in a rap style. At
6'8" he could be an intimidating figure were it not for the fact that as soon as
he begins to speak and smile, you instantly feel at ease. He's a Teddy bear.
Magic and I had such a good time in the studio working our way through his 12
songs and seldom had any disagreements. We were like a finely tunes engine that
was well lubricated. The result was a project that had a target date of August
15th for the delivery of the CD's and we met that deadline.
Diana Draper Nary
Thank You Lord
Oh I want
to know you more
Diana Draper played the organ and
directed the church choir at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Folsom Ca. for the
last fifty years. Every week would find her at her post playing, singing and
directing. When it came time for Diana to retire, she wanted to leave behind a
befitting gift for the church membership. She selected eleven of her favorites
songs including one (Taste and See) that she performed and recorded with the
choir in the church and one song (Forever Yours) that she and her husband Clark
Nary sang together with Clark accompanying on piano.
It was a real stretch to complete this project on time for Diana's last church
appearance. The spirits were in our corner because we were able to just slip
under the wire and she went to her last day armed with freshly made CD's.
Needless to say the last day was bitter sweet after such a long time. Now Diana
and Clark will be directing their combined attention to finding new adventures
located just around the next bend.
Title to Hear)
Crisp White Shirt
Switchin' In the Kitchen
Sister Swing continues
to march down the traveled road of the committed groups that will not be
silenced by changing times and conditions. They re-entered the studio to record
their sixth album. It has been six years since the last and they felt the
pressure of fans wanting yet another taste of the Sister's music to sooth their
souls. Entering the studio last February the Sisters delivered in fine fashion
(and under the wing of lead singer and producer Valerie Marston) an album that
will surly stand the test of time. This CD takes the music to the next level as
the Sisters re-invent themselves taking on the Boswell Sisters with whom Sister
Swing has admired for many years. The music is very syncopated and is swings is
a way that the Boswells first developed prior to the Andrew Sisters coming onto
the music scene.
Sly Fox 3
Title to Hear)
Use the power
continues to thunder down the musical road into
unexplored territory. Bruce Bolin and Greg Ayala see their journey taking some unusual turns in this their
third album titled Sensory Overload. This dynamic song writing team has once again explored the
boarders of their combined musical experience and have delivered a powerful
record that has raised the bar for Sly Fox. On this project they
have incorporated the singing skill of Valerie Marston both as a back
ground and a lead singer on several songs. The music on this project is more
diversified and spans several musical genres. naturally there is rock but this
time they have included pop, jazz and two ballads. In all Sly Fox has delivered
eleven songs that will inspire the listener to; "Free your musical mind and
allow your spirit to dance".
(Click to hear)
I Blame Canada
Buscando Mi Nino
My Angel Song
Frank Lizarraga has stepped
even deeper into the music scene by forming a band called Ritmoz Latinoz
with his son Cisco Lizarraga. Frank drew on some of the finest Latin
talent available and this group has been garnering rave reviews since the first
performance. They have been recording and posting their songs on many of the
modern communication networks like Facebook, twitter, Reverb Nation etc. The
band has exceptional energy on stage and the singer Yesenia Fuentes does
a knock out job of singing and dancing to the infectious rhythms provided by the
band. This is a must group and you won't have to look very far to find them on a
stage near you. (Click on the song title to hear).
Sly Fox 2
Chasing the wind
Title to Hear)
Put down the pipe
Believe in me
The songwriting team of Bruce Bolin
and Greg Ayala have once again struck gold with the release of
"Chasing the wind". This is the second record from these two seasoned
songwriters. They continue to weave rhythms and melodies together to form very
catchy songs. Both Greg and Bruce agree that this is their high water mark to
date. As their music gets stronger they seem to be feeding on the frenzy
of discovery moving continuously in a forward direction. They already have
four song in the works for Sly Fox 3. Meanwhile there is much to enjoy with the
current CD. The eleven songs on this album will bring many hours of listening
enjoyment. The music is up beat and the lyrics are both innovative and thought
provoking. To sum it all up
Sly Fox's second effort, "Chasing the wind" bridges the musical gap with
modern innovation and excellent musicianship to deliver some truly enjoyable
music to the discriminating listener.
Title to Hear)
Let's Go Out And Play
One More Day
Ed Johnson is a man with a mission.
Although Ed teaches high school during the day, at night he's a father and
husband as well as a committed musician. Ed began studying and writing many
years ago. Along the way he accumulated quite a catalogue of music that ran the
gamut of styles, tempos, and textures. Ed set out to completely play and produce
an album of his music. He played 31 instruments on a total of 134 tracks. On of
the songs (Rusted Shut) is almost 12 minutes long. It's an epic that transforms
through many styles of music and Ed mentioned that he used every mode on this
song. As you listen you will be aware of the seamless transitions but the song
is smooth and well played. This project took Ed over three years to record. He
had to teach himself the ins and out's of Pro Tools as well as teaching himself
to play many instruments. Ed came to me to mix his masterpiece. Together over
about six weeks we mixed and mixed until we had the elements ready for the
Mastering lab. All in all I have to take my hat off to Ed Johnson for having the
vision and the tenacity to not only take on a project of this magnitude, but to
complete it. Good work Ed and now it's Miller time.
For more visit Ed's website at
Bridge of Light
Title to Hear)
The Bridge of light
it be the time
Peter Mundy is a man with a mission.
When he first stepped into my studio in October of last year he was armed with a pocket full of songs that he
has written over the last thirty years. Peter was
determined to get his music into a marketable form and onto a CD. Although he
had tried achieve this mission twice before, once in LA and again in Miami, he
was compelled to give it another shot. So Peter came to me and the third time
proved to be a charm. I have always found Peter to be up beat and positive about
his music and life in general. He and I have been able to have a musical meeting
of the minds and the results speak for themselves. The music, in my opinion,
will stand the test of time. As for me, I would welcome the opportunity to be
involved in a live performance situation with Peter, playing his music on a
stage some where. Now that Peter has found the means to capture and produce his
music I am sure that he will continue to blossom in his writing and performing.
Continued good luck my friend and God speed to you.
Bruce Bolin and Greg Ayala
(Click on Title to Hear)
Blood thicker than
I first met Greg Ayala a year and a half ago when
he answered an ad that I had placed on Craig's list. I was looking for musicians
who wanted to write and record original music. I filtered through more than
fifteen players and Greg and I found some common ground. We began collaborating
on songs during our weekly meetings since May of 2007. To date we have completed
eleven songs. It has been an educational journey as we have improved our song
writing skills and techniques. We packaged up our product, called ourselves Sly
Fox and are continuing to write and record. Originally Greg would record his
drum parts here in the studio. But once he was able to build a small drum
studio in his back yard, he has been recording his drum tracks at home. Greg
feels it is better for him as he can take his time and he is able to deliver a
better drum track. We have been refining our skills with regard to lyrics,
melody lines and song styles. We don't know where this will take us, but
we have been enjoying the process. Now that the first CD project is in the can,
we are moving on to the next and are eager to see what our efforts will produce.
Music gives us and many of our fellow musicians the greatest satisfaction and
writing allows us to side step the egos and politics of the music business/scene. We
blessed to have found each other and to have the opportunity to express our
selves as musical artist's. Life is good!
Title to Hear)
Song for my mother
first met Frank Lizarraga more than fifteen years ago when he and his oldest son
Adam came to my studio to record. Since then Frank has been a regular studio veteran
with many recording credits and always in the pursuit of original music. Frank
is an easy going guy that loves to play, write and record. He has students that
he teaches weekly as well as rehearse with two bands "Luvtaxi" and "Amy
pocket". All while holding down a forty hour a week job with the state. I am
moved by the way Frank manages his time to be with his family, go to work,
practice with the bands and still find quiet time to write. He is a no nonsense band leader
with rules that include the three "D's". No drugs, No drama, No drinking. These
are simple but effective rules to keep the band performing with a professional
attitude and edge. Also, as I have mentioned many times in my studio news column Frank's
music always has a good groove. It's easy to dance to or just to keep your
head-a-bobbin'. Frank is the glue that connects many musicians in this town and all
who know him understand the contribution
Frank Lizarraga has made to the music scene in Sacramento.
We need to get him a
crown. Long live the king!
Title to Hear)
La Buena Nueva
Contamous Al Senor
Felipe Lariz came to me early last year
looking for a studio where he could feel comfortable and begin working on a
record. He had recorded a CD the year before in Modesto and needed to remain
close to home here in Sacramento. We began recording and I was drawn to Felipe
because he is a warm and caring person with a good sense of humor. Needless to
say during the course of working on this album we have shared lots of good times
During those times in the studio we developed a large respect for each other during the
recording process. Together we worked
on the music and spent a lot of time developing his vocalizations. I introduced
him to some techniques that helped Felipe to sound better and during that time
he told me that he needed to
take some time off to study and practice those techniques. He returned
three months later telling me that he practiced every day for three hours. His
vocals sounded much better and we were in the final push to finish. We have
become very good friends and I hope to have the opportunity to work with Felipe
Barry Weiner and the Bluez Catz
Title to Hear)
I can't get next to you
It all started when I received a call from
Barry Weiner wondering if I could record his band "The Bluez Catz" live at a
local night club just before Halloween. I told him that I could and we made
plans and set up the recording date at Zagoto's where the group performs several
times a year. The night started off with Barry's sons band called Intercept,
opening with a set. Then the Bluez Catz took the stage. They pounded through two sets with a short break in
the middle. The crowd was pleased and were dancing and getting into the
music consisting of blues and solid rock. Meanwhile I was secluded in a back
room with the recorder capturing every note. Within a week of the
recording, Barry and Dave Davis (lead vocals) joined me at the studio to begin mixing and
sweetening some the tracks. The mixes were tweaked over the course of several
weeks and mastered and
are now on their way to being duplicated. The interesting thing about this
project is that Barry wanted to have a raw live recording of the performance to
offer the fans and followers of
the Bluez Catz. That is exactly what he got and he is happy with the results. So am I!
Title to Hear)
got something to say
Anthony gets the nod as the featured artist for
his uncompromising views and his unique style of rap. Anthony is just 29
years old but when I speak with him, I have the feeling that I am communicating
with an old soul. Anthony rap's both free style and from the written page.
I can tell that this is a well read person that is opinionated and has logical
convictions associated with those opinions. He is very polite and soft spoken. I
enjoy both conversing with Anthony and hearing his raps. His is a refreshing
escape from the normal street rap artist. Anthony really has something worth
listening to. Another unique feature of his rap is that there is no cursing. I
hope to get to know this man better and to see if the world is ready to listen
to someone with moral values and an interesting point of view.
Title to Hear)
I see the road ahead
A different way
No where to go
Fifteen year old Sean Behry called me because he
visited this web site and had seen that I regularly help songwriters to complete
their unfinished songs. He booked some time and we began to work through the
first song. Right away I could hear that Sean had a style in his vocals and a
sound in his music far beyond his fifteen years. He seemed to be really focused
and was never lacking in the ideas department. Over the next several months we
would meet on a fairly regular basis and finish one song after another. Until
now when Sean has enough songs demoed to shop his music to potential buyers
either a talent or a songwriter. I feel confident that Sean will succeed in the
music business if he maintains his focus and with the continued help and support
of his mother Sheri and his family.
a little over ten years ago that a mutual friend introduced me to
Lizarraga. For the last several years Frank’s attention has been with his
current band Luvtaxi. This band consists of
band leader Frank
playing bass and singing vocals (seen here clutching the tambourine), Jamie on
percussion and vocals. Rudy on drums, Roy on guitar and Roxana singing lead and
background vocals and lastly, Josh
turning up the heat on the keyboards. Together they are
carving out a nice niche in the Latino-funk music scene. Frank runs a tight
ship. Rehearsing the group once a week and gigging as often as possible.
They have been making some connections while developing in roads into the Bay
Area music scene as well as locally here in Sacramento. It took four years to
get the first Luvtaxi CD produced. Now the group is working on the second CD.
Frank is moving things along much faster this time since he needs the new CD to
demo the groups new lineup and to build the bands fan base. Through sacrifice and hard
work the group is moving steadily toward their musical and career goals. Every
band needs chemistry in order to appeal to the public. Luvtaxi does it with hot
salsa, funky riffs, strong Latin percussion and Roxana laying down the
vocals. I am impressed with the musical direction and the writing for this CD from Frank, Jamie and
Roxana. The band works out the musical arrangements and their collective input
becomes the Luvtaxi sound. The music is fresh, and very danceable. So the next
time you’re hailing a cab while wearing your I pod, try Luvtaxi.
and I have been friends for some 30 years. In that time we have played music
together and watched each other go through life. I have
watched Bob grow as a songwriter and as a performer. But in the last
couple of years I noticed Bob's writing has really started to come through as his songs
have became more
melodious and his lyrics have taken on some interesting new meanings. Bob's music
seems to be more balanced and has a flow that is easy to get in to.
For many years I have talked to Bob about doing a recording project to show off his music.
Late last year we formed a plan. I had told Bob that I was planning on buying a new Alesis HD24 hard disk recorder. I could
bring it to
his home, located on 80 acres in the foot hills near George
Town California to record. I began driving up to Bob's house weekly to record him. Normally I'd
drive up on Wednesday afternoons and set up. We'd record the rest of the day until we needed
to take a break. Then Bob would
cook dinner for us. We'd have a beer or two and go back to recording until
we needed to knock off for the night. Early next morning after
coffee, we take up where we left off the night before. Bob's house is so
remote that one morning as we were recording, we watched seven deer grazing just
beyond his picture window.
It makes me feel good to help my friend to realize his dream. I have shared his
joy as we worked together through the project. I am counting on Bob, to want to
begin another project as soon as this CD is finished. It's been fun.
Dave Earthly is a
working man. He is also a song writer. Dave contacted me several years ago
seeking my help and input with his original music. Dave is the first to admit
that he is not a trained musician. But Dave hears music in his head all
of the time. He has a small studio setup in his home from where he works through
the songs as best he can. Then Dave contacts me and I help him to re-work his music.
I add up to date sounds and arranging the songs for Dave. We always
meet on Sunday mornings right after church at 10AM. Dave and I have had
good times in the studio playing and exploring his music.
In the process we have discovered
many new and exciting sounds, rhythms and riffs. Mostly because Dave is not in a hurry.
We allow the creative process to move at it's own pace and to percolate to the surface
of our imaginations. We listen to the music and allow our minds to explore different ideas for the songs. You just can't rush the creative process.
Dave has now catalogued more
than 11 songs and still continuing to work on new music weekly.
Dave's desire, is
to keep the flow going and to see where his musical path will take him.
Dave has found as have I, that "Joy lives in
The Doug Pauly Trio
and I first met when he was hired to play rhythm guitar on Sister Swing’s second album
that was to be
Nowhere Fast”. I quickly saw that Doug had a good
musical understanding of
how to find a part that fit the song. That
is to say that he played as though he wasn’t exercising his ego. Since Doug is
a regular guitar teacher at The Guitar Workshop,
I asked if I could take some lessons from him. He agreed. Doug
has been a professional guitarist for the past 25 years. In the studio he
demonstrates skill and knowledge. Doug’s sense of humor is legendary around
Sacramento. He is a jokester and has a smile on his face most of the time. Like most players he’s very critical of his playing and
wants to get it right. From my vantage point, He does! He has chops and an amazing
ability to play a wide variety of musical styles. He is an excellent reader
and works with a number of groups
and plays solo guitar as well.
Doug has a large roster of students
and his teaching business continues to flourish.
Having completed their CD project titled "Radiowaves",
Doug and the group will now concentrate on more live performances to showcase
both the group and the CD.
Lautz Vibes and composer, has been
performing for over thirty years. He has been featured at numerous festivals
including the San Jose Jazz Festival, the Hallcrest Vineyard Jazz Festival, the
Monterey Jazz Festival, and The Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. Rob holds a Bachelor's
Degree in Composition from Berkley College of Music.
The vibraphone is a keyboard mallet instrument similar to a xylophone.
The bars are made out of an aluminum alloy and are struck with rubber mallets
covered with yarn. The sound created has a mellow, bell-like quality. Some
practitioners of the vibraphone include, Gary Burton, Lionel Hampton, and
The vibes also have a motorized vibrato system that makes the notes sustain and
adds interest to any line or chord. Rob is a very serious musician.
You can see it on his face while he plays.
In between songs his demeanor takes a 180-degree turn as he makes wise
cracks to Doug and Jerry or the audience when they are out playing gigs. Rob
does many of the arrangements for the group. His sense of timing is evident in
his musical runs. There are not very many vibe players around, so what Rob
brings to the group is a unique sound and his ability to play jazz with a very
When it comes down to it, tone is what catches your ear in the first
place. Rob is well matched to his instrument.
is the bass player in
the group. I
don’t have very much background on Jerry except that I know he has played and
taught bass in this area for many years. I had heard of his playing ability long
before we met. He plays with several bands
and keeps busy in the local music scene. The thing that caught my
attention about his playing, is that he can grab a groove and hold on to it for
a very long time. Many bass players get bored playing the same line and feel
that they need to move on to another line to keep up the interest. Jerry on the
other hand will explore all of the nooks and crannies in a bass line and
doesn’t stray far from the original line. He has developed a good vibrato and
his sense of funk is easily felt. His grooves are deep and wide. With only three
players, he needs to establish his part and maintain it until it’s his turn to
solo. Jerry does this as well as anybody that I have recorded in my studio. His
chops are honed, his sense of humor is always present and the combination of all
his talents produce bass lines that are “Pure Gold” to use his own words.
conclusion I have to say that I have really enjoyed the time that I have spent
with these talented musicians. I love their sense of taste and ability put an
interesting spin on any of the music that they choose to
play. When you can do your job and have fun in the
is nothing better. These guys do it regularly.
had just finished
and immediately returned to the studio to begin their
fourth album project entitled
Fried". This CD is a departure for the
flamboyant trio in that it
features two original songs penned by pianist
Otto. The album has a
distinctly "Southern Flavor".
Out She's Gonna' Blow",
are songs that speak to the richness of
Orleans style food.
The ladies developed a real liking for the southern taste while
on a short fact finding trip to the famous city in 2002. They returned changed
forever. It seems that their audience's like the music from this CD as
well. They have been selling many CD's while performing at jazz festivals
up and down the west coast and in Canada for the last couple of years and
consistently get invited back the following year. Not willing to sit on their
combined laurels, the Sisters are planning their fifth project
Raff and Ruffles".
It is sure to continue the quality that the Sisters always put into every CD project.
The first four albums are examples of The Sisters tenacity to chronicle their
music. I am sure that what will follow will be met with enthusiasm by
their adoring fans.
Sister Swing is no stranger to the studio. They have been recording at
Studio for more
than ten years. So when they decided in 2002 to record their third CD entitled
the Christmas album, they came to Bruce. Valerie Marston,
has produced all of the projects and is the lead singer of the group. They
started pre-production by having the musicians come into the studio and record
some rough tracks to decide which songs would be on the album. Then, they
scheduled a rhythm section recording session
Bonnie Otto on keyboards,
Pollachi on upright bass and
Stanfill on drums. The Sisters recorded some scratch vocals to keep the
musicians on track. The rhythm tracks were recorded in three separate sessions.
Then it was time for the horns. The horn section
consisted of Kurt
on trumpet, Kristy Reed on saxes and flute and
Ron Cunha on
trombone. Otis Mourning was brought in to play
solos. The horns also took three sessions to be recorded. It was time for
the Sisters to do their stuff. They worked extremely hard to attain the quality
of both harmony and blend that has become their trademark. They were very happy
to be the first to use the new tube microphone. It captured their sound
beautifully much to their satisfaction. We spent many a session getting those
vocals right. The sisters were under the gun to get the CD’s reproduced in time
for the Christmas CD release party and concert. Bruce who works as their
soundman makes sure that the Sisters are well mixed and blended when ever they
perform. You can hear some
examples of the songs from Stocking Stuffers on the "Hear music page".
For more information about Sister Swing visit their
web page at www.sisterswing.com.