First Day of Spring: New Rainmaker tracks

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, the vernal equinox.Β  We’ve had a lot of rain this spring already (unlike last year’s drought which started early), so I’ve been making new field recordings for the Rainmaker project. To “ring in spring” I had some fun playing in the rain with kitchen mixing bowls for about a minute of ringing raining percussion. Not to everyone’s taste, but it was fun! πŸ™‚ Of more general appeal is “Lazy Rainy Day”, which is nearly five minutes of nice fat rain with some distant rumbles of thunder. If you listen closely you can occasionally hear a blue jay calling in the background. “Ringing In Spring” and “Lazy Rainy Day” along with other Rainmaker tracks can be downloaded free from the Downloads page. Splash into Spring and enjoy! πŸ˜€


This is it. “ThunderDog” which is now on the Download page will be the last rain track for a while. I have other projects to work on—and I don’t want to tempt fate by working on Rainmaker during hurricane season. πŸ˜† LOL This track is a study in contrast: the rain is very quiet, light, soft, but the thunder is really crackling. So much so that it spooked the dog who can be heard to give a few barks near and far on the audio, as she moved back and forth, to and fro, in agitation at the storm. The occasional bark isn’t a big part of the audio, but I think gives a context to the storm, makes it less like a sterile recording in isolation. There is a danger of monotony with a project like Rainmaker. All rain and all storms don’t sound alike, but they’re similar enough that often what makes a track stand out are the non-storm elements, like frogs, birds, dogs, cars. It create a world in which this rain is happening. I’m still sifting through previous years of of field recordings and hope to bring you more free tracks (see the CC licensing restrictions on the Download page) either in the fall or next spring.

In the meantime I’ll be working on that long ambient piece I mentioned some time back as well as a couple of book manuscripts. My author website and blog is updated more frequently and is a bit more general in subject matter than this blog and I encourage you to pop over and take a look. There will be a certain amount of overlap but most of the material will be new because I blog there more often than here. So add A Truant Disposition to your rss feedreader.

Big Rain

The sky has clouded up, but the 3 month drought hasn’t yet been broken—at least not at my house! Today I’ve released another free rain track, “Rainmaker”, which is just a monster track. Over 15 minutes long, with rain turning into a sudden downpour around the 9th minute. That’s not an edit, folks! That’s real! πŸ˜€ So click over to the Download page and grab some big rain!

The Rainmaker Project

I’ve added a new free download of a rain mp3 on the Downloads page! Some of you may remember that I do field recordings and have been intermittently working on a project of recording rain. So, I’m working on the files and will be releasing more as I get them sorted through and edited.

We’re in a severe drought here in the Houston area. We’ve gotten 1/5 inches in the past three months. (Less than that at our house.) Flooding is more typical of spring weather. Someone passed on to me today the stat that we’ve gotten the same amount of rain as the Sahara this spring. So much for living in a wet, tropical, coastal area. (sigh) I love rain, having grown up on the Texas Gulf Coast, so the drought has driven me back to work on the field recordings. For a while I was recording them faster than I could review and sort through them, so I’ve got a lot to listen to.

The project now has a name: Rainmaker. The previous field recording on the Download page has been renamed— both title and file name, but “Treefrog Rain” is the same file and “Pitter-Pat and Peeps” is the new track. I’ll be releasing another wonderful (and very long) track next week. I’m going to keep working on the rain files until we get rain and I can start recording again. πŸ˜€

So head over to the Download page and get yourself some cool rain. πŸ™‚

Free Rain!

I’ve been meaning to let you in on one of the projects I’ve been working on for the past year, involving field recordings. In the spirit of immediacy (since I should have done this sooner) I’ve uploaded one of my most recent recordings of rain (and frog!). Just under 3 1/2 minutes, it’ll be a refreshing break when the heat and drought of summer sets in. So click on over to the Downloads page, scroll down to the freebies and grab some free rain. πŸ˜€

Soundtrack song, Everest Sunrise, now available!

I’m as surprised as you are to have another newsletter out again so soon, but things have been springing this spring. πŸ™‚

“Everest Sunrise”, a collaboration with Marty Keil, which was used on the soundtrack of the movie, What It Takes, is now available on the Download page. I want to again thank Marty for his excellent work on the track. πŸ™‚ The completed track has not been available anywhere (except the DVD) before now. You can read the liner notes here.

Also, I’m doing a bit of rearranging on the website. Since the release of the CD, it seemed awkwardly placed on the Download page, so I’ve created a separate page for buying music. In addition to the CD I hope to have some of the miscellaneous “missing” tracks once again available from an online retailer in the near future.

Oh, yeah, I’m also working on new music. πŸ™‚

There have been increasing problems getting the newsletters past spam filters on servers. I’m extremely unhappy about this, as they are being blocked at such a high level that there doesn’t seem to be a way around it. If the problems continue, I may have to close down the newsletter, as very few of you will be receiving it. The absolute best way to keep up with news from Gymshoes is to add my RSS to your feedreader (MyYahoo, Bloglines, etc.). I’d like to once again urge you to do this now so you won’t miss a thing if the newsletters are blocked or discontinued.

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Gymshoes Music Used In Movie!

The New Year has gotten off to an amazing start.

Soundtrack: A Gymshoes song (which was never released on my website) was used in the movie, What It Takes, a documentary following four athletes in the Ironman Triathlon. It is now available on DVD. (A big shout-out thank you to Michele for telling me about this!)

Official movie site:
Imdb page:

Filmed in 2005, the movie was released on DVD October 19, 2006. The Gymshoes song they used is “Everest” which was never released on my website. This was one of a couple of songs I released on another site under a CC “by” license, which only requires the user to give credit. Though it’s generally considered common courtesy to tell the artist, it’s not required. All music on my Gymshoes site is released under a much more restrictive license which requires attribution, non-commercial use and no derivatives (like movies, video and remixes)—-unless you get my permission. “Everest” was later withdrawn from general release and is currently only available on the DVD. If I rerelease it in the future it would be under the standard license I use for all my other Gymshoes (and Undead Monkey) music. (Update: it is now available on the Download page.)

One of the reasons “Everest” was never officially released is because I considered it unfinished. Here’s the notes I made on “Everest” in January 2005. You can perhaps see why the filmmakers thought the music fitting for the grueling triathlon.

Concept: Climbing Everest. Long Hard Climb to the Top Of The World. No oxygen. Specifically thinking of Mallory and Irvine who died in an attempt to be the first to reach the summit. They disappeared without a trace and for 50 years no one knew what happened on that mountain. Then Mallory’s body was found; it was not on the route people expected and climbers now think they met with an accident on the way up and did not summit first. Mallory and Irvine were both young men. It was Mallory who when asked why climb Everest, replied, famously, “Because it’s there.” BTW, I’m not a climber and I hate cold weather; yet I read books about Everest. πŸ˜‰ I think this ambient piece captures the difficulty, the breathlessness, the physical effort that the early explorers of Everest, like Mallory and Irvine and later, Hillary and Tsing Norgay, faced as they battled the elements and struggled to find a passable route to the top.

Life and Death: My band, Undead Monkey, finished up the last song on the Life And Death project late last year and released “The Sellafield Bakery” the first week in January. You can download or stream that song as well as the others in the “album” (there’s only 5) from and read full liner notes on the Undead website. We’re already working on new music for an as-yet-unnamed project. πŸ™‚ Take a look around while you’re there: the website has been redesigned and reorganized. We’re in the process of redesigning the merch, as well. I hope to have some new Undead merch up soon. πŸ™‚

Never Fear! I will continue making Gymshoes music in addition to Undead Monkey music. I will continue to offer free downloads on the Gymshoes music site. πŸ™‚ Look for lots of new music in the New Year!