Media Player Changes

Tunecore has discontinued their music player, so full songs will no longer be available in the sidebar of any of my websites. I’m sorry. This was the best way to “try before you buy” because the pieces are often long and small clips don’t always give the listener a good view of the whole. Can you stream the music via music services? Yes, on some of them, but please bear in mind when you stream songs by Gymshoes that I receive only a few cents (maximum) when you do. Streaming services are not kind to artists; they’re designed primarily to provide revenue for the company, not the artist. Musicians provide lots of quality content for streaming services…and get pennies for streaming. If you want to support artists you love, buy the music. Again, I’m sorry for the loss of the sidebar media player, but that — like how much/little I’m paid for the music — is not something I have control over.

Music for #Halloween

Halloween Soundscape

Halloween Soundscape

As Halloween draws near and you’re reading spooky stories, decorating, and preparing to unsettle unwary trick-or-treaters, grab some eerie ambient Halloween Soundscape tracks to set the mood. I’ve piped it outside on Halloween night (gave the trick or treaters goosebumps), played it in the background inside, curled up reading a scary book while listening to Halloween Soundscape. It’s an evocative Halloween soundtrack for whatever your plans are. Track length makes Halloween Soundscape a bargain: the tracks are long, but album price is set based on the number of tracks, not the length of the album, so it’s a steal. 🙂

Try Before You Buy: You can stream the full Halloween Soundscape album in the sidebar. Read the liner notes as you listen. It’s available from iTunes, Amazon mp3, and other online stores.

A few years ago I used “The Monster Lives” in a video. This is one of the more subdued tracks on this spooky ambient album. Though the original inspiration for “The Monster Lives” was Frankenstein’s monster, the music works well for “sea monsters”, too!

Put on the headphones, turn out the lights and enjoy! 😀

The “season” for Halloween Soundscape is short so I appreciate you sharing links for the album, and writing reviews. This album’s success is largely dependent on word-of-mouth and social network sharing. I love seeing those shares on social networks! It makes things so much easier for me ’cause I’m not as comfortable flogging my albums and books as I need to be in the plugged in world. Virtual hugs for all those shares! 😀

The Post-Katrina Epoch

The first thing I saw this morning were images of flooding in Japan: water sweeping away everything in its path, people being rescued from rooftops. Coming so soon after the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it nudged me to write a little something here. I hadn’t planned on noting the anniversary of Katrina on any blog post because ten years on it still feels too tragic to write about and the media coverage of the anniversary felt a bit like opening an old wound. Katrina was bad. When we evacuated for Hurricane Rita not too long after Katrina, we stayed in a hotel with Katrina evacuees. I got a first-hand look at the face of Katrina. They had food, water, their dogs, a place to stay, and each other. They had no idea when they’d go home or, in some cases, if there was a home to go back to. Have you ever lived in a refugee camp and watched as a pickup truck offloaded supplies to refugees? How many people have you met who have lost everything and just barely escaped with their lives? For most people Hurricane Katrina is a historical event, something that happened on the Gulf Coast, far away from their own lives. For other people Katrina is a political event, with lots of finger pointing, fingers that are ticking off the ways the system failed. For some Katrina is a media event; the subject of documentaries and news stories, the source of dramatic footage and photos. For the people of New Orleans and surrounding areas Hurricane Katrina was a life-altering event, and for some a life-taking event. The survivors, whether they returned to New Orleans or not, are living in a Post-Katrina epoch. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who survived it whose life didn’t have an altered trajectory as a result of that hurricane. Phrases like “picking up the pieces” and “rebuilding” are weak words that cannot even begin to convey the reality of the Post-Katrina era to those people who lost everything.

I was born and raised on the Texas Gulf Coast. I’ve been aware of hurricanes my whole life. I’ve ridden out storms, I’ve evacuated ahead of storms, I’ve been hip-deep in debris cleaning up after such storms. But I do not know what it’s like to be a Katrina survivor. Not even after having met some survivors when we evacuated ahead of Rita. Katrina isn’t just a hurricane or a bit of history; it’s a community of people. Real live human beings like your neighbors, like you. Let’s never lose sight of that.

Be kind to strangers. You don’t know what they may have been through just to be standing beside you.

I have a small album of music dedicated to the survivors and rescuers of Hurricane Katrina, as well as the survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Proceeds go to the Red Cross, who are so often first on the scene of tragedies of all kinds. You can read my liner notes here: A Tropical Depression. You can get the album from iTunes, Amazon and other online stores.

I’m in the Top 10! Wheee!!

My birthday was this past Sunday and I got a special present: an email from Reverbnation telling me I hit their Top 10 list! Woo-hoo! 😀 I just had to share the joy with my fans here because YOU made it possible! I am nothing without you. I really appreciate your support: buying my music and telling your friends. I haven’t seen the hard stats yet, but I figure that it’s sales of my seasonal album, Halloween Soundscape,  that’s driving the numbers. I always get a “bump” in sales in the fall because the eerie ambient music fits well with dark rainy days, reading scary books (it was largely inspired by assorted bits of fiction), and of course plans for Halloween. I’ve piped it out on the porch to add an unsettling atmosphere for trick-or-treaters. It’s not a bad fit for setting the atmosphere of a Halloween reading, or party (depending on what kind of atmosphere you’re going for). It’s not some cheesy sound effects album (though it does have a sonic landscape the will raise goosebumps). Turn out the lights and listen on headphones for the best effect. 😉

It’s very different from my bouncier more sunny tunes and if you want some happy music to bop around to, most of my other albums are uptempo. Surprise me again and pick up some my “poppier” tracks this fall, too. After Halloween Soundscape, you’ll something to take you through to the spring! 🙂

Tell your friends and let’s keep this Top 10 thing going for a while!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! (She says, bouncing, dancing, and laughing!)

Top Ten Artist!

For the second week in a row I’ve been notified that I’ve hit ReverbNation’s Top Ten Artists List! It’s slightly less dramaticc than it sounds: it’s the Top Ten Local for Houston. On the other hand, Houston is the fourth largest city in the US, as well as being one of the fastest growing. Woo-hoo! I confess to being somewhat baffled, however. Elated, but baffled. I don’t have a new release right now, so what’s driving it is a mystery to me. I’ve been picking up fans on the social networks, not huge numbers, but a bit of a bump. And so far, no shout-outs to let me know why the sudden interest. The last time this happened a new fan told me that a freebie track I did had been used in a documentary! So, to new fans, a big hearty “thanks and wecome to the site”. Also, drop a conment if you know the reason for the local buzz! I’m glad you enjoy the music! That’s why I make it. 😀

New Video: The Beach At Dawn

Here’s a little video I did for “The Beach At Dawn” to start off your Friday—or weekend—on the right foot. It’s from my Sand In My Shoes EP. A nice little bit of summer fun in the sun.

I had an unusual situation editing the video: I kept zoning out while I was reviewing and editing the video…dreaming beach dreams. 🙂 Independence Day is coming up next week. If you can’t get away to the beach, soak up the video like I did and grab some beachy music, like Sand In My Shoes! (Available in most online stores, such as iTunes, myspace, Amazon mp3 and Napster.) Liner notes for Sand In My Shoes.

Have a great summer, everyone! 😀

Halloween Soundscape: Dark Ambient Music for Halloween

As Halloween draws near and you’re reading spooky stories, decorating, and preparing to unsettle unwary trick-or-treaters, grab some Halloween Soundscape tracks to set the mood. This isn’t some cheesy sound effects album—this is something you can listen to! 😀 I’ve piped it outside on Halloween night (gave the trick or treaters goosebumps), played it in the background inside, curled up reading a scary book with Halloween Soundscapeon the stereo. It’s an evocative Halloween soundtrack for whatever your plans are.

Try Before You Buy
You can stream the full Halloween Soundscape album in the sidebar. Read the liner notes as you listen. It’s available from iTunes, Amazon mp3, Napster, Rhapsody and mySpace Music.

If you already have my Halloween Soundscape album don’t forget to Share the links above with your friends! Or Share this post with the buttons at the bottom of the post!

Here’s a playlist of a couple of videos I did for Halloween Soundscape. New video: “The Monster Lives”! Note: The actual track for “The Witching Time” is much longer than the music in the video.) Track length is one of the things that makes Halloween Soundscape such a bargain: the tracks are long, but album price is set based on the number of tracks, not the length of the album, so it’s a steal. 🙂