I wanted to make an album that had as diverse a mix of music from my repertoire as possible. Through years of performing concerts, and many different types of gigs (particularly weddings), I have found the pieces on this album to be very popular with audiences. It's always surprising how great musical minds will come up to me at gigs and mention pieces I have just played with comments like: "I loved the Spanish Dance, and Asturias" or "can you play La Vie en Rose again?" Our community in Minnesota is musically savvy.
I wanted to also record pieces that people are not particularly familiar with to open up musical boundaries for my audiences. Pieces from Brazilian guitarists Dilermando Reis, and Baden Powell come to mind. The combination of Spanish, Brazilian, and contemporary pieces on one album is particularly interesting to me, especially when you consider the differences and similarities in the musical forms and time frame they were created in.
What inspires the eclectic, multi-genre variety of the album and your work in general.
I guess I get tired of playing the same thing over and over. I actually started out playing electric guitar twenty some odd years ago, and have played so many different styles of music since then--it's really incredible. For example, I taught myself the art of fingerstyle steel string guitar by applying everything I had learned through classical guitar several years ago. I am always changing my style up to keep myself engaged with the music. I find that audiences also react positively and can be entertained at a different level when pieces that are so different are played back to back. I am always trying to expand my repertoire for concerts and private events, because it also means I will have a better chance of getting hired if I can appeal to as many people as possible. Keeping audiences on their toes is important and it becomes easier with an eclectic range of music.
What are your influences in your writing, and how does your work as a composer influence your guitar performance?
I am a romantic at heart. I got into music wanting to become a pianist from my love of piano great Frederic Chopin. The music of Paraguayan guitarist Agustin Barrios was similar to Chopin's in romantic expression and virtuosity, and my love for Barrios' music led me on my journey to classical guitar and beyond. The past several years I have grown a deep appreciation and understanding of other South American music as well.
I guess you don't really think about what your outcome is going to be when writing music, as your influences mesh together like DNA to form "musical offspring." With that said, I don't write very easy music for the guitar, and am always surprised at how difficult I make things for myself. As a result, I have to make sure my musical chops are in order to execute pieces of music I write.
GUITAR REVERIES ALBUM RELEASE CONCERT
Studio Z: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
$15, $10 students and seniors
Tickets & info