Was I flattering myself here? Maybe a little… :)
It all started (again) with this: Brian and I met online in late 2008 and in 2009 he sent me a song he had written on piano and invited me to record an acoustic guitar. “Think simple acoustic”, was the creative direction that came with the file :-) So I asked a friend, if I could borrow his acoustic guitar for a while, since I didn’t own one any more, not to mention played one in decades and actually needed to learn it again to some extent. While doing so, I was tossing ideas around in my head and racked my brian as to how to best approach this. Ultimately and after probably a hundred takes, none of which I was comfortable sending back, I did another recording session at a nearby music store. (They let me have their sales booth for 3 hours with tape around the door so people wouldn’t come in. Wow… thanks to Justmusic Munich for that!).
And you know what? In the end, a blend of the first few takes made the cut and I sent it back with a note reading “That’s the best I can do. Feel free to throw it out, if it doesn’t work for you.”
The rest is recent history: Brian made a video by living among the homeless in Detroit for two weeks (!), invited me to record some video snippets in my neck of the woods, edited them, uploaded it to YouTube, got views and likes and generously shared the response he got with me and my Facebook wall, but most importantly: This project must have inspired him to do more than raise attention. I guess, from looking at it today, you might say he has been a DOer all along – and went there and founded the DO Foundation, who have saved hundreds, if not thousands of lives by now by finding abandoned homes, buying, refurbishing and furnishing them and getting families and individuals off the streets, thus giving them a chance to lead a self-sustained life at some point again. Because to apply for a job, you need to have an address somewhere and an infrastructure to actually be ready for any kind of job.
For his and his teams’ continued efforts, Brian received the Wayman Tisdale Humanitarian Award of the Year in 2010, awared to him by no other than the late Wayman Tisdale’s wife Regina Tisdale and Bernie Scott of the American Smooth Jazz Awards 2010. Nationwide broadcasting TV and radio stations caught wind of his project and have been supporting him in his efforts to attract more public attention to his endeavour and thus have a steady flow of donations come in, which are being used directly on behalf of the needs of the homeless. Brian’s latest record “Dreams in Color” will hopefully make him a household name all across the U.S. and beyond, so that his publicity might benefit all the great work him and his supporters have been doing all along. And for me, my teenage dream came true: All I ever wanted to achieve was finding my name in the liner notes of a major album production – and it came true with my modest contribution to this record! I couldn’t be more honored than finding myself among all this great music talent that Brian brought together on this album and on top of it all – in the name of a humanitarian cause that addresses one of the terrible downsides of the system we all live in, which has no place for anyone who ever hits a rough patch of the road and for whatever reason may not find themselves able to perform at 200% for 24/7 all of a sudden. Anyone might find themselves losing a job for a multitude of reasons at any given times in their lives. After that, the downward spiral begins spinning real fast and one might find themselves facing a “life” in the streets sooner than not. I don’t wish this to happen to anyone and I can’t even begin to ponder the incredible strength and resilience it takes to simply survive out there. I guess, some of these thoughts and feelings found their way into Brian’s song “I Wanna Be a Hero“, featuring Monica Notaro on lead vocals. Because the homeless living face- and nameless amongst us, walking the streets, overlooked, forgotten, ridiculed or even ruthlessly attacked, that’s what they are in my book, too: Heroes. Heroes of survival, of keeping their dignity in circumstances that have me shudder with horror from only imagining them.
If so inclined, please consider purchasing a copy of Brian’s latest CD directly from his website, so him and his teams get to continue doing the great work they’ve been doing over the past years. Thank you.
Michael, who originally hails from Cologne, Germany, was introduced to Jazz and taught his first guitar chords by his father Wolfgang. Music luminaries like Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Jim Hall, Tal Farlow and Kenny Burrell found their way into Michael’s music ear as early as age 12. During his later teen years, he also caught the “Blues bug” through music icons like e.g. B.B. King, Albert King, Albert Collins and Jimi Hendrix. But a pivotal moment was his listening to the 1988 Robben Ford CD release “Talk to Your Daugther”, when he discovered through Ford how to blend Jazz and Blues into one organic fusion of styles.
As Michael honed his skills by playing countless live and studio gigs, particularly after having moved to Munich in 1998, he found opportunities to reap the rewards of his efforts by founding the lounge pop band “Fat’s Jojo Magic” first and getting hired as lead guitarist with the “Donelly Blues Band”. However, he has come into his own with the Michael Nitsch Band, sporting the finest German music talent and with whom he continues to exhilirate musical audiences at renowned music clubs and festivals throughout the country.
Other than touring and playing extensively, Michael hands down his expertise to students of the guitar, who benefit not only from his live and studio experience, but his formal education at MGI Cologne as well. In order to learn about live appearances, please also notice the band’s Facebook page. And last, but not least, treat yourself to this fine piece of music by taking a sneak listen on his website and ideally proceding to the purchase link.
Looks as if this instrument had a lot of ‘control sensitive’ areas that trigger controls and sound modifying parameters. I noticed the ribbon like effect Zimmer employs by simply sliding across the area in front of the actual keys. But see for yourselves:
Wouldn’t it be great, if doing something good gave you instant gratification? The good news is: Instant gratification is a given for your heart and ears, if you decide to Help make Dreams In Color a reality. | Indiegogo. Brian O’Neal whom many of you already know as musician, composer, humanitarian and founder of the DO Foundation is in the finishing stretches of his next big project: The Dreams in Color CD and following “Dreams in Color”-US tour! By choosing to support Brian’s Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, not only are you making sure that the CD will comply with pristine sonic and overall quality standards, you are also helping to launch a nationwide tour, which is going to generate funds in order for the DO Foundation to set up branch offices in other major cities in the USA, where homelessness meets the helping minds, hearts and hands of Humans helping Humans. You want to be a part of that? Simply click this link, take a minute to listen to Brian giving you more details on the project and what all this is about and then choose for one of the perks in the rightmost nagivation area. Perks start at 15$ which entitle you to download MP3 files of the complete album upon release. Can’t wait and want something more personal? Like e.g. listening to what’s cooking now and an additional signed copy of the CD upon completion? The “Insignia” package at 25$ might be a suitable choice for you then. Ever wondered what’s going on behind the scenes and how songs evolve through different versions and iterations until one final version is selected to go into the final mix? Find out by choosing the “Ultimate Dreamer” perk at 50$ (Yes! You’ll get an exclusive behind-the-scenes-peek for about two thirds of a regular concert ticket. Feels like a backstage seat right there, doesn’t it?)
But there’s more and we best not give everything away now. Treat yourself to learn more about this exciting project by following this link. And while you’re at it – even a single dollar goes for miles and miles. Feel free to share this message and invite your friends and fellow music lovers with a heart for people!
I had the pleasure and honor of sitting in for the first version of this song. But this project is about an entire album of great, great music by my friend Brian O’Neal. I’m sure, many of you know him through his excellent music, as the man on the keys for KEM as well as the founder and mastermind behind the DO Foundation. Please show the love, as the saying goes, for Brian’s latest (music) project by sharing this and ideally making a contribution. The cost of producing a CD encompasses – amongst other things – renting a studio plus engineer, hiring and paying studio musicians (even when you’re a multiinstrumentalist as Brian is), possibly renting equipment, paying graphic design artists for the cover art, hiring a photographer and having a photo session, hiring a videographer and shooting several music videos, renting a location for the CD release party and fronting the expense for that including all marketing – next to other line items – that goes into that. I could go on and on and on and it might easily take an entire page of listing items the artist has to cover up front prior to making any money or just getting to expect a reasonable return on investment. This is why so-called ‘crowdfunding’ platforms like Indiegogo.com have become so popular: You’ll get what you pay for and all involved parties win! And I am convinced beyond a doubt that Brian’s upcoming CD is going to be first class quality (sssshh…. I am not supposed to say, but I think I’m safe to say I know so… :))
Show the love and spread the word! ;) Thank you!
Autsch! Super autsch! “Teilen ist das neue Haben”, liest man auf den Wahlplakaten der Piraten. Ja, o.k. – wenn ich bei meinen Zuhörern dann umsonst wohnen und essen darf, ausreichend Privatsphäre habe, um meiner künstlerischen Tätigkeit weiter nachgehen zu können, dann von mir aus. Den Slogan müssen wir vielleicht doch nochmal überdenken…