1 day ago
Hey my friends,
This will be my last newsletter of the strange year 2020, which, although it hasn't been turned into a horror movie yet, has certainly been the subject of countless horror MEMES on Facebook. I know this holiday season won't exactly be like others I remember! I'm guessing that most of us had some optimism at the beginning of this year, right? But then came the paralyzing pandemic, a shocking death count in America and beyond, the worst election cycle in our history (with all the division that went along with it), job and financial woes, and the collapse of entire sectors of the economy, including the gig market that musicians generally depend on. I absolutely did NOT accomplish my hoped-for goals in 2020. Survival itself became the primary goal, which is probably so for most of you as well. But at this writing, I am healthy, energized, and making plans for what I hope will be a much better 2021. When the pandemic is officially over and I can get back to the recording studio, I'll resume work on an EP I started early in the year. I'll most likely call it "Kevin-ish" or "Kevin-esque." I already have an ambient collaboration finished; it is at the mixing stage. Again, that just requires some safe interaction with the people involved. And dreaming ahead, I have a full cycle of songs written for what I hope will be my next "proper" full-length release. But any way you want to look at it, plans went astray this calendar year. If any of you are of a mind to help support me during this crazy time, you can purchase my "Clear the Way" CD for only $10 (plus $3 for shipping domestically). My Paypal address is kevinrenickbusiness@link, or you can send me a check at: Kevin Renick, PO Box 31785, Des Peres, MO 63131. I'm thinking of starting a Patreon account soon, once I know I have some goodies to offer. I hope some of you will take an interest in that!
Difficult times can lead to either renewed contemplation or, perhaps, a fresh direction. I am still writing songs, patiently hoping for more regular gigs to return (had a fun one with Denise Chappell and Mark Arnold in November), and figuring out what lessons to learn from this mess of a year. I certainly hope to connect with as many of you as possible through my music and now, through various writings. Check out the movie and memory blogsite I contribute to, it's at link. I also write for link. Although normal holiday greetings don't seem quite right to close with here, I do want to say that I hope all of you reading this (and your loved ones) are in good health and have been spared from this pandemic. I hope you are coping by doing as many things as possible to keep yourselves engaged with life, your friends and your personal interests. I also hope you are still listening to good music and maybe getting out in nature. This crazy thing will pass, and while life may look different for a while, there is always something new to discover, something to fire up one's enthusiasm. I appreciate the messages some of you send me, and I encourage you to keep doing so: I try to answer EVERY message or email I get. Eventually YES, I will have some new songs to post. Meanwhile, thanks for sharing this connection we have and for listening to my music! We have certainly been reminded this year how fragile life can be, and how ever-changing our circumstances. We are all in this together, truly, if we could just start realizing that. And every day should be looked at as an adventure, one where we can learn, grow, and (hopefully) flourish...
link. For those of you wanting slightly more contact with me, check out my Facebook fan page: Facebook
3 months ago
August greetings to y'all,
It's hard to pretend anything is even close to ordinary during this pandemic. We've all had to make sacrifices and individual decisions about how to survive. Any fans of mine reading this, I hope you've been able to find a way, and to keep yourself and loved ones healthy. No music or concerts matter that much if you are physically suffering in some major way. But without a doubt, music continues to be a soundtrack for many of us during hard times, and if anything I've written has spoken to you these days, I am truly grateful. And I thank you for caring, just as I care about YOUR health and safety out there, folks. I only had one indoor gig in the past five months, and it was fun if sparsely attended. I have outdoor shows coming up on Aug. 9 (Lake Creek Winery near Marthasville, MO) and Aug. 22 (Alpha Brewing in St. Louis), but I am not actively pursuing gigs right now. There are just too many destabilizing factors. Most musicians I know will regard this as one of the worst periods EVER for our profession. It has required looking at all sorts of ways to find "alternatives" to what we normally wouldn't even have to think about. I do continue to plan an EP, tentatively for fall. Anxious to get some new songs out there when the signals are more clear. But I won't lie, it's tough to be an artist right now. I enjoyed a recent photoshoot I did with photographer/filmmaker Wolfgang Lehmkuhl (one of his pics is included here) and I've entered a few songs in songwriting contests just for the discipline of doing so. The next tune I post is almost certainly going to be my extensive remix of "Call It, Friend-o" which is getting close to the finish line. And I have a couple of new things under way, including a vaguely pandemic-themed song. Mostly, however, I have been writing reviews and essays for a couple of blog sites. One of these is called CINEMEMOIR, a cool new forum featuring writers' in-depth stories about how a certain film or aspects of film impacted their lives. This is going to be an active, evolving blogsite and I'm thrilled to be part ot it. You can check it out at link if the subject appeals to you. A writing contest with cash prizes will launch very shortly and is open to the public.
I want to say that I really appreciate it when you guys send me messages. I have always LOVED one-on-one communication. And I try to respond to every message I get. So don't be shy! If you have a question or just want to comment about a certain song, drop me a line. I'll love it, and chances are you will hear back from me quickly. In the meantime, folks, be good to each other out there and be attentive to what is happening in our country and your community. These are absolutely unprecedented times, and everyone is running scared. Through love, a sense of community and appreciation of the arts and other disciplines, we can find our common humanity and learn more about being decent human beings. I work on it every day, and can't wait to share new music with you as soon as I am able. So keep yourselves sane and healthy! Blessings, everyone... And enjoy the rest of your summer!
SDH (socially distant hugs),
6 months ago
Hello again, everyone!
I know it has been a long time since I sent out a newsletter here. In fall of last year, I lost my dear brother to a heart attack...a guy who had always been very supportive of my music. it was a big loss. Then in late winter of this year, just as I was gearing up to record some new stuff, the Pandemic hit, and all of us were thrown into an unprecedented crisis. It has been unbelievable. I hope and pray all of you out there have stayed safe and healthy, and that none of your loved ones caught this horrible virus. I'm healthy so far, but obviously almost all music activities were shut down, and I am waiting to see what happens later this spring. To say this period has been challenging would be an understatement...
Before Spring is over, I will release my vibrant new remix of "Call It, Friend-o," an older song of which I'm particularly proud. We are sprucing it up quite a bit. When I can, I will record the songs "Broken Joe and Broken Jane," and "Walking Along," which were planned for an EP. Can't give a timeline on that right now. Just taking everything one day at a time. My goofy party song, "Beer and Wine," has been near the top in the Country Rock genre for months now, even making it to the top 10 internationally. Some of YOU may have helped this happen, and if so, I thank you. Sharing a drink or three with friends remains a great pleasure, although during this pandemic, we haven't always been able to get together with people. "Beer and wine" are not quite as enjoyable when you're drinking alone, in my opinion. I hope things get back to normal soon.
If you have a taste for luminous, melodic female-fronted pop music, I want to recommend the Norwegian trio Ephemera to you all. I've loved them for many years, but they just released SEASONS, their first new platter in about 15 years. This is simply delightful, immaculately arranged music from the heart...check it out at either Tidal, Spotify or Amazon Music. The song "When the Best Ones Are Gone" is my favorite for the pandemic era, an absolutely gorgeous song about losing people and dealing with life's "undertow." The video Ephemera made for it shows empty streets and shuttered businesses in their hometown of Bergen...it is spellbinding and sad, yet still beautiful. I heartily recommend you check it out. I listen to these three ladies almost every other day; their music is that good. If you are still checking out MY songs, just know that I am grateful...some of you have written me sweet messages in the past few months and it means a lot. For those who don't know, my secondary project is lead singer of a Neil Young tribute band called "Shakey Deal." We have a sterling reputation here in St. Louis. I unearthed a solo performance recently of me performing "The Needle and the Damage Done." You can find it on our Facebook page, and it will likely be on YouTube soon, as other performances of ours such as "Cortez the Killer" are. Look into it if you dig Neil!
Please be good to each other, and be smart when you are out in public. This virus is nasty business, and no one wants to get it...none of us want to endure that sort of misery. I hope by the time I post again, the numbers will be down and life will at least resemble what it used to be. Time will tell. Keep writing to me if you are so inclined; I do try to answer as much as I can. And enjoy your spring (and upcoming summer), your family and friends, and all the good music that is out there. I toast to y'all from the quiet of my bedroom, where I am writing up a storm and hoping for better days SOON!
As I write these words, nature is being totally bipolar here in St. Louis. We had 90-degree weather last week, and this morning, my car windshield was iced over, it was cold as hell, and I'm struggling to stay warm. Just plain weird, and I wonder if we are in for a long, bitter winter. I hope not! Anyway, things have at least been heating up for me personally. One thing I am particularly good at is keeping REAL busy! KSDK Channel 5 broadcast a nice segment on me last night. You can watch it here: link It includes a bit about Up in the Air "ten years later" (yes, it has been a decade since that remarkable film came out, if you can believe that!), a nod to my Neil Young tribute band "Shakey Deal" (and by the way, to that other Neil tribute act called "Shakey"...didja HAVE to? Really?), and a mention of my exciting new project "Time To Write a Song," which is an album of original songs by my songwriting students at St. Louis Community College. Most of these people are older and have not recorded any of their songs before, so I feel great that my first job as a producer was facilitating the experience for them. Caroline Steinkamp is the youngest and likely most promising artist in this group and is already out there performing on her own. I drafted her to sing backing vocals on my contribution to the album, "Something From Your Heart." The tune was partially my message to the class, to remember that no matter how busy or preoccupied they get in life, remember to find a way to channel their heart into either music or general life experiences (hopefully BOTH). The engineer paid me a real compliment by saying that the tune reminded him of composer Philip Glass. PG is partially in my DNA for sure...his solo piano piece "Opening" would go on my list of favorite compositions of all time. Anyway, the album "Time To Write a Song" will be on sale for only $10 starting in late October; it will have two songs by Ms. Steinkamp on it as well as cool songs by John Vullo, Michael DeLeon, Amelia Beckmann and quite a few of my other students, all amazing. I posted "Something From Your Heart" as streaming audio here for a short time. You will also find two other completely different songs: a raucous drinking song called "Beer and Wine" that I recorded just for fun (it probably won't be on any album) and a melancholy travelogue from my previous album called "Just Movin' On". I never made that song available before; it's very personal in ways I can hardly do justice to. Three of the people who took part in it have passed away, including producer Lou Whitney, drummer Bobby Lloyd Hicks and my dear friend Rick Haegg, all Springfield pals. But I'm okay sharing this tune now that a few years have gone by...
The student project took up much of my time in the last couple of months, and we will be rehearsing for a couple of upcoming live shows in coming weeks. Shakey Deal, the Neil Young group, will play at the Pub House in St. James on Sat., Oct. 19 and at Sky Music Lounge in St. Louis on Sunday, Nov. 10 (we're teaming with a Dylan tribute act, Hard Rain, for that particular show). I continue to make plans for my next recording; hopefully that will get under way right after Christmas. All the songs are written. As an aside now, it is very cool and inspiring to meet people in the industry who paved the way ahead. One such performer is Liz Phair, who gave an utterly amazing interview/talk with a local journalist at the St. Louis County Library. Liz has a new memoir called "Horror Stories" that I plan to read shortly. Besides being an effervescent, lovely person, Liz had so many things to say about being a musician, things I truly related to. One insight had to do with the process of writing songs. Liz advised prospective songwriters to "put listeners inside a story or scenario that is already under way," an approach that has paid off well for her. She is a rather singular force in indie rock, and has a new album coming very soon. Her energy was absolutely infectious, although she has certainly had to deal with some "beastly" forces in her own career. It was an honor to get pictures with her and exchange even a few words of appreciation.
In conclusion, Happy Autumn to all of you out there! Remember to support live music and promising new artists wherever you encounter them. They need every one of you, something that has been brought home to me big time in the music classes I am teaching at STLCC!
Warm hugs to all,
Hello again, my fans and friends!
I constantly surprise myself with how busy I get these days. Get a load of this: I've just finished recording and mastering a new one-off party song; it's called "Beer and Wine." It's just goofy fun. I've also finished recording an ambient collaboration with Walter Whitney (known for his participation in such past experimental entities as Delay Tactics) to be called "Lost In Familiar Territory." It awaits only some minor tweaks, and then the mastering process. I will likely post a track from it here in the next month. Meanwhile, I'm preparing my next song-oriented album and can't wait to get in the studio again to dive into that. The songs for this record are among the most personally meaningful I have ever written. If all that weren't enough, I am adding "producer" to my list of credits with an album of songs recorded by my Songwriting students at St. Louis Community College at Meramec. They are a remarkable bunch, mostly beginners or budding artists who've not yet shared their efforts in public. These amazing individuals have really shown their understanding of what a song can be, emotionally and musically. The album will be called "Time To Write a Song," fittingly. There will be a limited number of copies made, but I'll announce official information when we are done. This has truly been one of the most gratifying projects I've ever been involved with! I just LOVE it when angsty creative types can push through the many pitfalls and scary obstacles and bring their art to fruition. It has never been more meaningful to do that sort of thing than RIGHT NOW.
I've been going through some of my older recordings, also, seeing what might be suitable to post for you guys. I'm enjoying some early tracks that I did not deem worthy of sharing before, but time has made me appreciate them a lot more lately. So stay tuned. As for "Beer and Wine," it will be available for download real soon. I may post it for streaming for a week free, shortly. Watch this space. Also in the cards: I am probably going to redesign or alter my website in some manner, soon as I figure out the logistics. I would really like to hear from any of you who had a certain experience with one of my songs or have thoughts to express about my music in general. I will use some of these quotes in promotional material and on the new site. You can send me a message through N1M or email me personally at kevinarenick@link. I'm grateful to anyone who feels they have something to share. Finally, if you are a Neil Young fan, my Neil tribute band Shakey Deal has gotten more and more attention. One of our best shows EVER was at the Jacoby Arts Center in Alton, IL in July. We really showed the power of our band. We have shows coming up on September 21 at Naked Vine in Chesterfield, MO and another on Oct. 19 at the Pub House Brewing Company in St. James, MO. And something is in the works for November, to be announced. If you like what I do and you also like the genius music of Mr. Young, you should definitely enjoy Shakey Deal! We have a killer lineup right now!
If you are in the St. Louis area, come see me play in a trio with Mark Arnold and Denise Chappell on Sat., Aug. 24 at the Irish Corner Bar at the intersection of Lemp and Cherokee. We have one heck of a show planned. After that except for a loose date or two I will be concentrating on recording and rehearsing until the next Shakey Deal concert. By the way, I highly recommend that y'all go see the David Crosby documentary "Remember My Name." It is unflinchingly honest and hard-hitting, and since CSNY were among my most influential songwriting heroes, this film affected me on multiple levels. It shows you almost every potential pitfall you can encounter on the road to artistic fame and it also depicts a rock legend who has somehow survived multiple traumas to outlive many of his contemporaries. Unforgettable stuff. See you all again real soon. link. Keep on rockin' in the freak world! That's what it feels like we are living in right now.
Truth and singing birds...
N1M © 2003—2020
Kevin promo pic
Kevin closeup pic
Kevin at the Ivory Theatre 2-28
Kevin AA Japan pic
Kevin and the Springfield Boys at the Flea
Kevin at Chapel 6
Kevin alone, beige hat
Kevin alone, beige hat 2
Kevin with guitar, by truck
Kevin, relaxed pose at winery, taken by Sue
Kevin at a winery
Kevin today, on Pascal show
Kevin at Innsbrook with guitar on deck
Kevin, Denise and Mark at the Muny
Kevin at Vintage Vinyl appearance
Kevin closeup at Sept. SD show
Kevin by firelight, with glass of wine
Kevin at SD show in Sept, solo pic
Clear The Way CD cover mockup 2a grey with blue
Kevin, HQ alternate clear photo from Tokyo in March 2010
Shakey Deal at DH, cool pic in red light
Shakey Deal Sept. show, another energetic fivesome
Kevin with cordless mic
Kevin at Innsbrook lake, cropped
Kevin and band foursome, Vintage Vinyl Jan 21
Kevin at Three Squirrels, relaxing
Kevin and Denise mostly, Vintage Vinyl
Kevin at Montelle Winery, pic taken by Sue, cropped
Kevin with Graham Nash, partner in the UITA closing credits
Kevin getting ready to autograph a CD for fan
Kevin and Ted at Soulard Art Gallery July 7
Kevin posing near rock wall and fall leaves at Laumeier
Kevin with cordless mic, cropped
Liz Phair and Kevin 2
Kevin and turtle statue
Kevin photo with guitar, taken by Wolfgang Lehmkuhl
Kevin, Denise and Mark at Boardwalk Waffles
Kevin got haircut!